Shapeshifting is the power which enables you to use your body as your
canvas, reshaping it into whatever you can imagine...within limits.
With time, even those limits can be escaped from, however. It is
the specialty of Chaosians, but Amberites and Shadow dwellers can get in
on it as well.
Shapeshifting has no prerequisites, although having a good psyche and
endurance helps a lot. Even someone with all human atttributes can shapeshift.
Not very often or very well, but they could. It doesn't require the blood
of anything, either.
Shapeshifting works virtually everywhere, just as well in the Pattern
Chamber as inside the Logrus, although there are a handful of shadows where
it doesn't work for some strange reason. There are also some where
it is limited to powers that entirely affect one's body only (ie, you could
use Shift Wounds, but not Shapeshift Others or Absorb Mass).
Shapeshifting Partial Powers
- Basic Forms shapeshift (Pick one of the following four options)
-  Amberite, optional
-  Chaosian, mandatory
-  Black Zone, mandatory
- [3 for 2 forms or 5 for 3 forms] Shadow PC
-  Enhance first Basic Form [optional--Not a standard part of Basic Shapeshifting, but available if you want to spend the extra points]
-  Enhance other Basic Forms [optional--Not a standard part of Basic Shapeshifting, but available if you want to spend the extra points]
-  Shift Body Parts
-  Shift Wounds
-  Shape Shift Features
-  Automatic Shape Shift; Involuntary Primal Form Access
-  Primal Form Control [Need minimum two forms]
-  Shift Persona
-  Simple Creatures of Blood
-  Average Creatures of Blood
-  Advanced Creatures of Blood
-  Exalted Creatures of Blood
-  Shape Shift Others
-  Shift to Animal Shapes
-  Shift Anatomy and Structure, Shift to Animal Abilities
-  Shift to Standard Creatures of Power
-  Advanced Creatures of Power
-  Master Creatures of Power
-  Exalted Forms of Power
-  Plant Forms
-  Absorb and Eject Mass
-  Possession
Learning to Shapeshift
Learning to Shapeshift requires a teacher and the potential to shapeshift.
In general, just about any Amberite or Chaosian can learn to do so. Shadow
dwellers may require a story reason, although plenty of Shadows
exist where everyone can shapeshift.
It takes weeks to months to unlock your basic forms, depending on your
Psyche. From there, it takes a few more weeks to months for each of the
abilities up to Automatic Shapeshift. Abilities beyond that
tend to be highly variable as to learning times.
When you first learn shapechanging, you pick your basic forms.
One of these is your birth form, the form which it is easiest for you to
assume, although all three basic forms are very easily assumed by you.
For Amberites and Shadow dwellers, this is usually a human form.
For Chaosians, it is usually the demon form. Amberites and Chaosians
typically have three basic forms: Human, Demon, and Avatar.
Shadow Dweller shapeshifters usually only have two of those forms, although
some may have all three. [Having three basic forms costs five points, having only two costs three points]. They also can, potentially,
have Avatar as their birth form.
Human form is just that. An utterly ordinary human form.
It's always the same appearance, though it ages as you age. Higher
shapechanging powers can enable you to impersonate other humans, but this
form is unique to you.
Demon form (also called Combat Form) is an armored and weaponed form.
At its base cost, it gives you armor and weaponry about as good as a suit
of chainmail and a couple of swords and axes, although you can invest more
points into it to boost its capabilities.
Avatar form varies, dependent on what you are. For Amberites,
it's an animal form. For Chaosians, it's some sort of elemental creature.
For Shadow Dwellers, it could be just about anything.
You can spend up to five points each on your Demon and Avatar forms,
investing them with Item Qualities. You get three points of Item Qualities (not Powers) for those forms per point you spend.
Paul decides he wants to play a Shadow Dweller, a Werewolf. In
fact, just to be strange, he wants to be a wolf who turns into a man,
instead of vice versa. He goes ahead and pays the full five points for three
forms. His human form is just that, a human. His Avatar is
a wolf. And his combat form is a wolf-man, half-human, half-wolf,
a furry humanoid with claws and sharp pointy teeth. He then buys
the following qualities for those forms.
- Combat form--Wolfman (Crinos) [8 item quality points costs 3 character points]
- Deadly Damage Claws: 4
- Invulnerable to Firearms: 2
- Double Speed: 2
- Avatar Form--Wolf (Lupus) [8 item quality points costs 3 character points]
- Engine Speed: 4
- Double Damage Claws: 2
- Sensitive to Danger: 2
He has thus spent a total of 11 points on his basic forms.
Shift Body Parts
This is the first step, in which you become Mr. Fantastic, able to stretch
or compact your existing body structures like play-doh. You can turn your
bones into stretchy stuff, then resolidify them to sustain your warped
form. This does not enable you to create new body parts, just to compact
or elongate what you have and move your body mass around to some
degree. Useful for things like slapping someone from eight feet away,
escaping manacles, getting a drink from the fridge without leaving your
chair, and other such tricks. But rather paltry by the standard of later
powers. But it's a prerequisite to just about everything.
In a matter of minutes, you can knit any wound back together, which
makes you hard to kill. On the downside, this takes time, so it's
best done after the fight ends or while you hide somewhere. If you're
too cut up, you'll knock yourself out from the exertion this requires if
your endurance is low.
At this point, you now have enough fine control to take on the appearance
of other people. It's child's play to disguise yourself as just some random
person, and fairly easy to take on an appearance of your choice.
Imitating specific people requires you to spend time studying them, preferably
naked if you want complete authenticity. Even then, you may be spotted
by your lack of their mannerisms.
This can be used in one's combat and avatar forms, as well as one's
human form. It takes minutes to hours, depending on how different
they are in appearance. It does allow one to change one's physical
sex if one really wants to.
Automatic Shapeshifting and Primal Form
The next phase of shapeshifting is learning how to adapt to changing
environments. This is known as automatic shapeshifting. At
this point, the shifter learns how to consciously or subconsciously quickly
change to deal with adverse conditions. Throw him in a fire and he
gets abestos skin and his lungs automatically filter smoke. Fall
in water and you develop gills. Need to cross a burning desert?
You'll become heat resistant and your body will become more efficient in
its use of water. And so on. The more Psyche and Endurance
you have, the faster your body adapts.
Should stress levels become high enough, you'll automatically slide
into primal form, which is how shapeshifters refer to the ultimate survival
state in which you can adapt to just about anything. Primal Form
has the disadvantage, however, that you become survival obsessed and considerations
like your friends, your goals, your towel, or your reason for entering
the danger in the first place are forgotten. You simply head for
safety, regardless of other considerations, even if this means leaving
your buddies to die. With experience, you can learn to enter primal form
automatically if you want to.
It's not too hard to imitate someone's body, but to pass as them convincingly,
you have to learn to adopt all their little mannerisms, idioms, and tones
of speech. Otherwise, everyone will start thinking your imitation
subject is acting strangely. You now learn how to do this; this can
even be used to take on a measure of their skills. This is a somewhat
risky thing, however, because you do it by shapechanging your own mind,
and if the target has too much psyche, you may become buried by the persona,
and lose your identity until the next time you sleep.
You now learn how to shapechange your aura, so that you can pass psychically
as someone else--a plant, a normal human, Gerard...If someone overcomes
your defenses, unless they have a serious psyche advantage, they will find
what you want them to find. Like Shift Persona, this is dangerous,
as you may become submerged for a substantial amount of time if the other
person's psyche is too strong for you.
You can use this ability to hide your Logrus or Pattern or Broken Pattern
Imprint to some degree, making it hard to detect, and you can use it to
change your 'trump phone number' so that existing Trumps of you will fail
to reach you.
Creatures of Blood
Simple Creatures of Blood
Every cell of a shapechanger's body has the potential to become a completely
new life form; with this power, you learn how to activate that potential,
shaping some of your own power into a small, simple creature. It
is fairly flimsy, but possesses some degree of your powers, especially
powers inherent in your blood (Thus a bird created from the blood of a
Prince of Amber would have some ability to shadow walk). At this
level, such creatures make good messengers or spies, but little else.
It takes 3-5 minutes to create such a creature, depending on psyche,
and the more endurance you possess, the more frequently you can make them.
Average Creatures of Blood
You can now create creatures with up to your body mass. They can
possess up to 1/3rd of your stats, and up to 1/3rd your points in
your powers. They can resemble real people if you so desire. Over
time, they tend to become independent unless you High Compel them,
as they respond to their experiences. Should you so desire, you can now create
simple creatures of blood from other people's blood if they possess Shapeshifting
or Pattern Imprint.
It takes 5 minutes for every point of attributes (imbuing human takes
1 minute, Chaos takes 2, Amber takes 3), and 10 minutes for every point of powers.
The closer such creatures come to your body mass, the less frequently
you can make them; this is modified by endurance. If you possess
the Absorb/Eject? Mass power, you can simply keep eating stuff and cranking
out Creatures of Blood as fast as you want.
Advanced Creatures of Blood
At this level, your Creatures of Blood can now possess up to 2/3rds
of your stats and up to 2/3rds your points in your powers. Advanced
Creatures of Blood tend to become independent of you fairly quickly.
You can also now create Average Creatures of Blood from other people's
Exalted Creatures of Blood
At this level, your Creatures of Blood can do anything you can, if you
choose to imbue them with that much power. The closer they are to
you in power, the faster they break free of your control, however.
You can now create Advanced Creatures of Blood from other people's
Blood. You can create Simple creatures of blood from anyone's blood,
even a slug's blood.
Shapeshifting Other People
At this point, the Shifter learns how to extend his powers to affect
other people. This requires you to defeat the victim in psychic combat,
which can take quite a while. If they are willing, it is quick and
easy, usually taking about as long as it would to perform the effect on
Imbue with Power
You now can not just use your shapeshifting on others, but you can attempt
to fundamentally rewrite their very essence. This works well on Shadow
Dwellers, but Amberites and Logrus Initiates will eventually throw off
the effects. People can be imbued with any Shapeshifting powers you
possess, and also with any Trump or Magical skills you wish to burn into
them; similarly, they can be stripped of such powers if you're feeling
cruel. You must actually possess the powers to be imbued, but you
don't need to possess a power you wish to suppress.
If you possess a suitable template (such as yourself), you can perform
a blood transfusion and rewrite the target to effectively gain the Blood
of Amber or of Chaos. You can also suppress such blood in a person
who possesses one or the other, if they haven't already walked the Logrus
or the Pattern (in which case they're beyond your power).
Miscellaneous Shifting Tricks
Shift to Animal Shapes
You can shape shift into any animal form of comparable mass that you
have studied, i.e. that you have a full Psychic impression of. In
this context, 'animal' means an organic non-vegetable form. These
are Named and Numbered forms that you practiced in - you will not be
clumsy or disoriented, so there is no bad effect on Warfare, Psyche, etc.
You can also get the locomotive abilities of the studied animal...flight,
swimming, etc. Other abilities such as poison, fire breath, etc.
are beyond the scope of this ability and are part of Shift Anatomy and
to Animal Abilities. Shift Anatomy and Structure,
Shift to Animal Abilities
Instead of having to shift into animal form to gain the animal's ability,
you can simply change your own form to add the ability. For example, you
can have your character sprout wings like a bird or a bat, or develop
claws or armored scales. In addition, you can move around, change,
duplicate, and augment the body's internal organs. Aside from the
obvious benefits of generating two hearts, or a sub-brain, you can use
this ability to regenerate lost body parts, which takes about a week of
This power allows you to become a plant. The definition of what
a plant is varies by Shadow, so in this context it means a largely
non-mobile form that has the ability to gain sustenance passively.
For example, in a hostile Shadow, take the shape of a local tree and
you will have food and water enough to heal and rest without doing any
work. Plant forms are particularly excellent for meditation and mental
rejuvenation. You also discover your Plant Form, an appropriate
vegetation Basic Form.
Absorb and Eject Mass
Many forms cannot be adequately done with the mass possessed by a Human
sized character. It is for this reason that a character with Shape Shift
can use his/her power to absorb mundane Shadow Material into him/herself
to take on sufficient mass for the desired form. For example, when
the Demon Servant, Gryll, came to Merlin to take him back to the Courts
he lacked sufficient mass and size to carry Merlin on his back. Gryll
then proceeded to absorb some furniture from Merlin's room in order to
gain the desired size and mass.
The Shadow Material which the character absorbs cannot be magical (living
creatures can be absorbed, but you'll need to catch and eat them instead
of just fusing with them). It must be considered generally mundane
in the Shadow in which the material exists in order for the Shape Shifter
to be able to assimilate it into themselves. This process increases
the time required to Shape Shift greatly, adding up to 15 minutes, and
if the Shape Shifter wishes to then go to a form with less mass/size he
or she will have to expel the absorbed matter first, which will take twice
as long as absorbing it. Note that the character may not decrease
their mass less than their smallest Basic Form's original starting total.
This power lets you infiltrate someone's body and make it your own.
You effectively merge your forms together and gain the best of both worlds.
This can only be done either by consent (generally not very likely) or
by utterly defeating the victim in psychic combat. It takes about a week
to do this properly, so you're advised to find somewhere you won't
The resulting form looks like the victim, and has his Strength and Endurance,
while retaining your Warfare and Psyche. If the victim possessed the blood
of Amber or Chaos, you now possess it. If they had an active
Logrus or Pattern Imprint, you now have the basic Imprint if you didn't
have it before, but all learned powers are gone and must be relearned by
you. (And yes, your new imprint costs you points if you didn't have
it). Walking the Pattern will not expel you from the body, as you
have fused with it to become a new being.
If the victim had shapeshifting, your basic forms are replaced by his.
If he did not, your human form becomes his normal appearance, but you retain
your own demon and avatar forms.
Be warned, this process is irreversible. Also, you inherit any
blood curses the victim may have suffered, but you don't gain any benefit
of any good karma they had.
Forms of Power
Have their own subpage