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Is the Shape <Material> spell hyper restrictive? It mentions Shape Sand, isn't that too specific? If you want to dig a simple trench, do you need Shape Sand, Shape Gravel, Shape Dirt, and Shape Mulch? What if the ground was wet, do I need Shape Mud now? What if there's a rock in the way, do I also need Shape Stone?

If I have Shape Concrete, do I also need to buy Shape Plasticrete, Shape Masonry, Shape Synthcrete, Shape Plasteel Reinforced Concrete, Shape Marble Tiles, etc? Or can I just buy Shape Stonework? Do I also need to buy Shape Stone if it was a natural rock wall?

If I have Shape Steel do I also need to buy Shape Plasteel, Shape Ceramet Steel, Shape Iron, Shape Copper, etc? Or can I just buy Shape Metal Alloy?

Can I just buy Shape Snow, but if I'm Eskimo do I need to buy 22 different Shape Snow spells?

How do you guys handle the spell and does this house rule make sense:
Since this game is based on Platonic magic, I'm thinking should there just be 4 spells: Shape Gases (air), Shape Liquid (water), Shape Solid (earth), and Shape Energy (fire)?
i would make it a bit more broad than what you're asking... iirc, there is a "shape metal" spell mentioned.

i would allow "shape earth" to affect natural materials that are not a single solid mass (ie dirt, sand, clay, etc)

i would allow a "shape stone" spell for affecting natural rock, but i would probably require a separate one for "shape concrete" (which would affect concrete/plascrete in all it's forms, as well as probably other non-natural "rocks")

really, how restrictive it is would be entirely up to the GM. shape <material> isn't so much a spell as it is an explicit explanation of how you can make a whole bunch of different spells.

in any event, it has been pointed out that you technically could just create a shape anything spell by adding +2 drain (that is, removing the limited target modifier from the spell's drain code) which should certainly be "non-specfic" enough for you, i would hope.
The Restricted Target spell modifier has always encompassed a very broad range of restrictions, traditionally, and there is no hard divider between Restricted Target and Very Restricted Target. For example, Slay Elf is a canon Restricted Target Spell, but Slay Metahuman would be equally valid as a Restricted Target, and so would Slay Man and Slay Woman. The point is to allow a great deal of flexibility in target restrictions to allow interesting flavor spells without actually breaking the game. The canon example of Very Restricted Target, on the other hand, is Slay [Specific Person]. Which means that you could make a spell which does nothing but kill Kirk Cameron for a very small drain code, but it is unclear if Slay White Male Actor/Televangelist Who Starred in a Mediocre Sitcom and a Very Bad Series of Christian Propaganda Movies would be considered Very Restricted Target or just Restricted Target. The final choice here depends on the GM.

Personally, I would allow the 22 different Shape Snow spells to have Very Restricted Target drain codes.
Talia Invierno
Having been moving a great deal of earth recently, I have reason to appreciate this group of spells.

x2 what hyzmarca said re tighter the definition, lower the drain code: but for the general definition, I'd reference a family of materials within whatever categorical structure the magician uses, and then perhaps narrow it a bit further by state (liquid or solid).

For example, Shape Metal might work on any metal/metal alloy, but not on the non-obviously metallic tooth fillings (which still contain one or more metals, but not in alloy form). Shape Snow would then actually be Shape Water (solid), contrasted against Shape Water (liquid).

Shape Earth is the broad one, in that it could (eg) include suspensions within Portland cement: the referral point here would be to identify the key material: we're looking for some naturally-occurring variant of rock or sand. Shape Earth could also influence everything that falls under the category but the embedded (metal) reinforcing rods. It could not, however, touch anything synthetic. For that you might need Shape Plastic -- a very wide category!

Narrow it down further, and the drain code drops.

GM/player cooperative judgement call at chargen, as always.
wouldnt you need a new shape snow spell for every snowflake? i mean, they are ALL different biggrin.gif
A Shape Anything spell for +2 Drain would certainly bypass the headache, but I'm thinking such a spell would be too broad. Maybe the 4 high-level Shape spells I created (Shape Gases, Shape Solid, Shape Liquid, Shape Energy) would be the non-restrictive version with +2 Drain.

Otherwise, with the current restricted version of the spell you're stuck having to buy hundreds of different spells just to shape all plastic-blend items: Shape Plastic, Shape Plasteel, and Shape Plasticrete, Shape Ceraplast...
In my game the GM Allowed a +2 verision Shape Anyone Material.

This could shape 'anything' but only one anything per casting.

The GM is fairly flexiable with 'material'.

For example one time I made statues out of 'rubble'.

So the material was: Concrete (probably with reinforcing rods in it) and perhaps other debris.

Some (not of that material) may have been forced out. (may not be able to shape all the styrafoam cups mixed in with it (and other unmentionable plastic products), but could shape the 'rubble' around / away from the impurties to push them out/aside.

In the end I think I had to make an Engineering test to make sure I did something structually sound, and an Artisian test to determine home pleasing it was, but it was allowed.

The Shape (material) does seem a little to limited, but perhaps with careful thought for the emergency 'on the run' when drain is an issue.

Shape (plastic) and Shape (metal) if allowed, would seem to be very good 'get out of jail' cards
Laughing, that seems to be a good and fair solution. I like it.

Thanks I thought it a more useful spell then the listed, yet still balanced when I suggested it to my GM.

Even as player I do prefer to keep things reasonably. Not only more likely to be accepted, generally it is cause for a more enjoyable game.

While getting by your GM, they no drain, +20 to all my stats, hardened armor at 40 spell might make you giggle... it generally doesnt cause for a fun game.
QUOTE (laughingowl)
Thanks I thought it a more useful spell then the listed, yet still balanced when I suggested it to my GM.

I don't see how any version of this spell would be balanced.

As written in SM, this spell is the perfect terrorist/war spell. *The* perfect. As in “Oh... do you see that Golden gate Bridge there? Ooops, no more bridge now?.

I'm kinda amaze there's GM around who does allow this spell in their SR world...
Probably those who allow their players to have explosives and heavy weapons...

(any material) seems too much for me (power per karma-wise), but the basic spell is no problem. Custom spells are always subject to GM approval.

Destroying buildings takes at least Shape Concrete and Shape Metal, quite likely also Shape Plaststeel. I´d rather homebrew explosives than learn three spells to do the same job.
i doubt it would take 3 spells.

i mean, honestly, if you remove the foundation (concrete) how long do you think the building is gonna stay intact? if you remove the metal parts, you think the building is gonna be ok without that metal framework holding it up?
QUOTE (Jaid)
i doubt it would take 3 spells.

i mean, honestly, if you remove the foundation (concrete) how long do you think the building is gonna stay intact? if you remove the metal parts, you think the building is gonna be ok without that metal framework holding it up?

Well, that metal framework is covered by all kinds of things, so I doubt that you could affect it without other spells or ways to uncover it.

Affecting the foundation, well, it would take a lot of spells to do it, due to area of effect limitations.

The bridge now, would be easier to do, especially the metal ones. Remove a few critical supports, and down comes the bridge.
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