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Lansdren
I recently got shapechange for my mage's spell list mostly for a laugh but the more I think about it the more useful it appears.

Need to check out a place Shift into a smaller more agile for (also proberbly much better physically then the mage due to hits on the test) and go have a look,
Need a door taken down, nothing says let me in more then turning the troll into a rhino and letting him go to town
Need to evac someone quickly, lets see if they notice that I just turned the target into a hampster and hid him in pocket of my duster


anyone else got some fun or serious uses for the shapechange spell?


Machiavelli
Switch into a crow and shorten your ways.
Mongoose
As an offensive spell, turn the target into a (size appropriate) fish. No real offensive capability on land, and a lifespan of maybe 5 minutes.

Octopusses (no, its NOT octopi) are intrusion experts- they can fit through almost any crack, and easily survive out of water for 15 minutes.
Ol' Scratch
The reason it's underused is because it doesn't absorb your clothing or equipment into the new form. So you're basically flying around completely naked and utterly vulnerable. In combat, any perks you'd get from the spell are grossly outclassed by the armor, foci, spells, and everything else you've had to forsake to do it. Out of combat, you're still totally vulnerable but at least you can do a few things such as scout and the like a little more easily. Assuming there isn't a hungry hawk or other (para)critter around looking for a snack.

If the spell would absorb your gear, even if it didn't prove any benefits to you whatsoever while so absorbed, it would at least make for a fun travel and scouting spell.
Mordinvan
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Mar 31 2010, 01:08 PM) *
The reason it's underused is because it doesn't absorb your clothing or equipment into the new form. So you're basically flying around completely naked and utterly vulnerable. In combat, any perks you'd get from the spell are grossly outclassed by the armor, foci, spells, and everything else you've had to forsake to do it. Out of combat, you're still totally vulnerable but at least you can do a few things such as scout and the like a little more easily. Assuming there isn't a hungry hawk or other (para)critter around looking for a snack.

If the spell would absorb your gear, even if it didn't prove any benefits to you whatsoever while so absorbed, it would at least make for a fun travel and scouting spell.

Make a new version which would. The spell would have to defeat the highest OR of your equipment, and then you get to take it all with you. It would add a few points to the drain, but easily be worth it.
Nifft
QUOTE (Mongoose @ Mar 31 2010, 02:05 PM) *
Octopusses (no, its NOT octopi) are intrusion experts
I'm more inclined to trust the grammatical advice of people who can use "its" and "it's" correctly. (Also, I'm worried about what "intrusion experts" means regarding your porn collection.)

But other than that -- great idea, the octopus is a fun critter.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (Mordinvan @ Mar 31 2010, 02:35 PM) *
Make a new version which would. The spell would have to defeat the highest OR of your equipment, and then you get to take it all with you. It would add a few points to the drain, but easily be worth it.

Thanks, I never thought of that. (There's only a little sarcasm in them thar words.) The problem is that most GMs, for whatever reason, see it was unbalanced and/or don't allow custom spells.
The Jake
I have a player who has this spell. He doesn't use it for creative/strategic advantage but rather annoy or pester the GM by being an epic pain in the ass to other NPCs, all the while, threatening the PCs with his stupidity.

I literally want to either remove it from his character sheet and offer him an equal amount of karma to buy another spell or tear up his character. Let me tell you it will be a race to the finish line on that I'm afraid.

I have nothing against it, but I am tarnished by my experiences with this nutty player.

- J.
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Mongoose @ Mar 31 2010, 09:05 PM) *
As an offensive spell, turn the target into a (size appropriate) fish. No real offensive capability on land, and a lifespan of maybe 5 minutes.
The spell only works on voluntary targets. You could however create a version that works on every target.

QUOTE (Mongoose @ Mar 31 2010, 09:05 PM) *
(no, its NOT octopi)
Yes, it is.
Mongoose
It can be either, but "octopuses" is the preferred (or only) listed form in some guides. Only reason I mentioned it was it looks funny, so I figured I'd add a pre-emtive defense vs spelling Nazis. Guess I should have relaized that's like whipping out a circumcised cock to piss at Nuremberg.
Lansdren
So how about a version that includes clothing and items as suggested maybe something like


Advanced Shapechange

This spell allows a experianced magic user to shift his or willing parties form into a mundane critter (+ or - 2 body from target) Plus any carried equipment or items. The threshold for the spell is equal to the highest of either the highest Object Resistance for items currently carried or the highest force of any carried Focuses. Net hits above the threshold increase the physical stats of the final animal as normal.
Drain (F/2)+6

Example Barry the Mage (M5 S5)wants to turn into a bird and fly up to a high spot on a towerblock to wait things out as a magical sniper. But Barry doesnt want to be cold and naked when he changes back, so decides to use the advanced version of the shapechange spell. With this he can take some stuff up there with him but with risk of being to shattered to be in position for the hit. Being a not very stupid mage Barry leaves behind most of his gear only taking some clothing a optical telescope from the 1900's that he's fond of and his spell casting focus (F4).

When casting Barry chooses to cast at force 5 (his maximum without overcast) knowing that at best he will only get one net hit (threshold of 4 because of his focus). Barry casts and manages to get his 5 hits and shifts into a alightly above average raven. Now he trys to recover from the drain with the total coming to 8 this is going to hurt alot. Rolling well (with edge) Barry manages to avoid the lions share of the drain but still takes 3 stun leaving him on a minus 1 to everything until he gets the chance to relax and let his body recover.

Barry manages to fly up into position and has just about enough time to have a kip before his target makes his apperance.



That was alot longer then I had intended but I hope that makes sense. I think with a high enough drain it wouldnt be game breaking as only a very high level spellslinger could change really powerfull items but could give lower levels the oppertunity to do things without being naked. Would also give a nice difference between a mage shifting and the more normal shifters.


What do you lot think?


Xahn Borealis
Instead of worrying about losing armour and various things, why not take it off FIRST? Then, have some critter-modified armour ready(similar to troll and dwarf modification) and put that on in critter form.
Dakka Dakka
Have you ever seen a creature without opposing thumbs don clothes or armor?

@Custom Shapechange Spell: I'd say +4 Drain modifier would be more than enough. Creating it from scratch would give you the same modifier as the less powerful Shapechange. Since when is Force used as an OR? Normally Foci get their Force as resistance pool. Just using the OR of the items should be enough since even normal clothing is by RAW wireless-enabled and thus at least OR 3.

When creating a custom shapechange spell I'd prefer the offensive version though. It is quite funny to transform the big scary troll via several other creatures into a jellyfish. It would probably be easier if any book gave stats for large fish besides sharks.
Ol' Scratch
Because that's dumb? smile.gif

The approach I took the last time I created this variant of the spell (which I think is more elegant) simply added the following paragraph at the end of the spell's description. It added +2 to Shapechange's drain code for a final drain code of (Fų2)+4.

"Metamorphosis is an improved version of the Shapechange spell. When cast, it attempts to include your equipment into the new shape. Items with an Object Resistance equal to or less than the force of the spell plus any net hits on the Spellcasting Test become a part of the transformation. While so transformed you do not gain any of the benefits or abilities that these items provide, and you can in no way gain access to, activate, or otherwise manipulate/use them. This includes foci, fetishes, and other magical paraphernalia (which are considered to have an OR of 2 for purposes of this spell even if their typical OR would be higher). They are, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent for the duration of the spell. Only items you are able to comfortably wear or carry without outside assistance can be absorbed in this manner, and living creatures can never be absorbed. The spell otherwise functions as Shapechange in all ways."
Hagga
Shapechange into the secretary of the place, claim there were some nasty trolls outside that beat him up and took his clothes. Security charges out to meet fully armed runner team. Fully armed runner team, in new security uniforms, with newly shapeshifted guard, walks in, performs run, leaves.

Ol' Scratch
You can do that easier, and with less drain, just by using Physical Mask. And you have full access to all your gear to boot.
Lansdren
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Apr 1 2010, 10:50 AM) *
Have you ever seen a creature without opposing thumbs don clothes or armor?

@Custom Shapechange Spell: I'd say +4 Drain modifier would be more than enough. Creating it from scratch would give you the same modifier as the less powerful Shapechange. Since when is Force used as an OR? Normally Foci get their Force as resistance pool. Just using the OR of the items should be enough since even normal clothing is by RAW wireless-enabled and thus at least OR 3.

When creating a custom shapechange spell I'd prefer the offensive version though. It is quite funny to transform the big scary troll via several other creatures into a jellyfish. It would probably be easier if any book gave stats for large fish besides sharks.



My logic for using the force as replacment for OR with magical equipment was simply that transforming a magical item into something else (if thats how you take the change) should be harder then something with no real aura of its own. If for example the mage just wanted to shift himself, a set of flats out of the vending machine and his F6 power focus I can see the focus being the more tricky part of that change not the flats regardless of the OR.


But I do agree maybe the +6 to drain might have been abit OTT really +4 seems fair
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Apr 1 2010, 12:09 PM) *
You can do that easier, and with less drain, just by using Physical Mask. And you have full access to all your gear to boot.
If the equipment does not work, you are right.
Xahn Borealis
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Apr 1 2010, 10:50 AM) *
Have you ever seen a creature without opposing thumbs don clothes or armor?



Then get a teammate to help you. They have to make SOME armour clothing for critters out there SOMEWHERE, right?
Hagga
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Apr 1 2010, 10:09 AM) *
You can do that easier, and with less drain, just by using Physical Mask. And you have full access to all your gear to boot.

The example given was shapechange. You work within your limits. This way you also pass retinal scans, too, and DNA, maybe. Not sure how deep the spell goes.

Also, I think illusion spells are out to get me. They're always resisted.
Ol' Scratch
QUOTE (Hagga @ Apr 1 2010, 06:14 AM) *
The example given was shapechange.

What example? Or were you trying to reply to the original post and offer up another use for the spell? It was kind of confusing. It helps to use quotes in those situations.

QUOTE
This way you also pass retinal scans, too, and DNA, maybe. Not sure how deep the spell goes.

What on earth makes you think it's capable of doing either of those things in any of its incarnations? And why would a version that includes clothing and basic gear be any different from the default spell?
Hagga
QUOTE (Dr. Funkenstein @ Apr 1 2010, 11:27 AM) *
What example?

The title.

QUOTE
What on earth makes you think it's capable of doing either of those things in any of its incarnations? And why would a version that includes clothing and basic gear be any different from the default spell?

Because if you're using the body of X as a model, you presumably duplicate it down to the silks in the eyes. I imagine it'd probably be a case of spell vs reader to determine which was fooled, though. I don't know what you're talking about with gear.
Lansdren
QUOTE (Hagga @ Apr 1 2010, 11:00 AM) *
Shapechange into the secretary of the place, claim there were some nasty trolls outside that beat him up and took his clothes. Security charges out to meet fully armed runner team. Fully armed runner team, in new security uniforms, with newly shapeshifted guard, walks in, performs run, leaves.



Just a thought but as far as I was aware you couldnt change into a metatype, its a critter form spell only (there are two version Critter which is one selected animal only and the unrestricted version which is any animal but with +1 drain)


This being the case the suggestion for physical mask in that example would be more handy.


Although I was more talking about use's for the spell as written (ignoring the sideways step of a version to enable keeping gear). One thought that keeps cropping up to me is using it to turn into a gorilla and use some Troll sized weapons with it.
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Lansdren @ Apr 1 2010, 01:50 PM) *
Just a thought but as far as I was aware you couldnt change into a metatype, its a critter form spell only (there are two version Critter which is one selected animal only and the unrestricted version which is any animal but with +1 drain)
Shapechange is the unrestricted spell. [Critter] Form as in Eagle, Rat etc. Form is the one where you can only change into one species of animal. The question remains if a metahuman is an animal, if so the trick with the secretary may work. While shapechange allows you to change into nay non-paranormal animal, the description does not say you can change into a specific specimen of the species. So it may not work.


QUOTE (Lansdren @ Apr 1 2010, 01:50 PM) *
Although I was more talking about use's for the spell as written (ignoring the sideways step of a version to enable keeping gear). One thought that keeps cropping up to me is using it to turn into a gorilla and use some Troll sized weapons with it.
Why would you do that? Troll-modified weapons have no inherent benefit. For melee-weapons you would get the troll's +1 reach though.
Lansdren
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Apr 1 2010, 02:10 PM) *
Why would you do that? Troll-modified weapons have no inherent benefit. For melee-weapons you would get the troll's +1 reach though.



Gorillas have big ass hands from my experiance troll guns and such might be more in keeping with them


but its all fluff really


Going back to the no changing into a human SR4A says "Consult the Critters section, p. 292, for the subjectís Physical attributes while in critter form." Which implies to me its animal only. You could also count Human's (in particular the various metatypes) as generally magical I:E not mundane (ok a basic human might not be but to be anything else a bit of magic is in you)

Ol' Scratch
As mentioned, I'm more than happy using it as a travel and recon spell. It doesn't need any other uses for me to be more than happy with it. Levitate, Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, and Awesome Flavor all rolled up into one.
crizh
At risk of causing a flame-war about the FAQ I should point out that the most recent one lists Human as a viable 'non-paranormal' animal for Critter Form and presumably also for Shapechange.

It does mention that Meta-humans are para-normal and therefore not viable forms.
Stahlseele
Shift somenoe against their will into a tiny weak creature.
Use levitation to fling them far up into the air. Let them drop.
Question: if it's dead, does it still shift back when the spell is lifted?
And if it does, how would the result look in th aforementioned case for example?
Hagga
QUOTE (Lansdren @ Apr 1 2010, 01:31 PM) *
Gorillas have big ass hands from my experiance troll guns and such might be more in keeping with them


but its all fluff really


Going back to the no changing into a human SR4A says "Consult the Critters section, p. 292, for the subjectís Physical attributes while in critter form." Which implies to me its animal only. You could also count Human's (in particular the various metatypes) as generally magical I:E not mundane (ok a basic human might not be but to be anything else a bit of magic is in you)

Gorillas are just large. Until you've been face to face (as much as you can be face to face with something on the other side of plexiglass) you can't really appreciate the fact that NO YOU ARE THE SQUISHY.

I suppose you could shapeshift into the form a biodrone takes and try to seduce the biodrone in question. Now that would be an unsettling experience for all concerned.
Neraph
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Apr 1 2010, 03:50 AM) *
Have you ever seen a creature without opposing thumbs don clothes or armor?

Have you ever heard of barding? I wonder how all those horses put on plate armor without any fingers, let alone opposable thumbs.

QUOTE (Lansdren Posted Yesterday, 05:50 AM )
Just a thought but as far as I was aware you couldnt change into a metatype, its a critter form spell only (there are two version Critter which is one selected animal only and the unrestricted version which is any animal but with +1 drain)

We've been down this road before on the forums here. It turns into a "No it isn't!" - "Yes it is!" discussion where nothing really gets answered. The best compromize would be a (Metahuman) Form spell that uses the same stats as (Critter) Form that possibly does not add any hits to stats like Shapechange does.
Stahlseele
Well in the latest FAQ HUMANS are a valid form for shapeshifting.
META-Humans are not, because they are paranormals.
Shinobi Killfist
My general opinion of shape change is I wish it weren't in the game. Like virtually every other shape change spell in every other game it either works out to be too good or sucks ass. In this case if your GM lets you turn into a small unobtrusive whats it and cast spells willy nilly or other "creative" uses it ends up being too good, if the GM pays attention to the you don't bring your gear line it end sup being too weak because the first time anyone looks at you in the astral you are soaking a crap ton of damage without your armor. There really isn't an in between, you are either splattered or wrecking havoc without anyone threatening you.
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Neraph @ Apr 2 2010, 09:08 AM) *
Have you ever heard of barding? I wonder how all those horses put on plate armor without any fingers, let alone opposable thumbs.
Of course I have heard of barding, but the horses don't put on their barding themselves. The same goes for someone wishing to be armored while under the influence of the regular shapechange spell.

QUOTE (Shinobi Killfist @ Apr 2 2010, 05:20 PM) *
There really isn't an in between, you are either splattered or wrecking havoc without anyone threatening you.
Isn't that mostly the case in Shadowrun, especially with mages?
Shinobi Killfist
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Apr 2 2010, 04:48 PM) *
Isn't that mostly the case in Shadowrun, especially with mages?


I usually survive getting shot a few times in SR4. Now without armor my mages would usually be close to dead or dead in the first shot, I am not getting that many successes on 4-5 dice. (but 16 dice i usually do okay with)
jimbo
If my PC Shapechanges into Critter x (we'll go with Great Cat), does the character get the critter's Skills?

Also, the caster's Body sets the "base" Body you can change into, but can the net hits allow a caster to go beyong that? I'm guessing yes. Example, my 4 Body Shaman wants to change into a 6 Body Great Cat and gets 3 net hits. So my Great Cat form has physical attributes at stat block +3 ?

What source materials have additional critter stat blocks?

Thanks all!
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (jimbo @ Apr 6 2010, 10:40 PM) *
If my PC Shapechanges into Critter x (we'll go with Great Cat), does the character get the critter's Skills?
Nope. The mage should get the powers though.

QUOTE (jimbo @ Apr 6 2010, 10:40 PM) *
Also, the caster's Body sets the "base" Body you can change into, but can the net hits allow a caster to go beyong that? I'm guessing yes. Example, my 4 Body Shaman wants to change into a 6 Body Great Cat and gets 3 net hits. So my Great Cat form has physical attributes at stat block +3 ?
Yes the mage in cat form would have BOD 9.

QUOTE (jimbo @ Apr 6 2010, 10:40 PM) *
What source materials have additional critter stat blocks?
Running Wild. But even this list is quite short.
Ascalaphus
So what about changing into a bird? Do you get the Flight skill?

Are athletics/unarmed combat for animals the same skills as for (meta)humans?



I'm inclined to call metahumans mundane-enough; it's possible to create bioware for them, so they're not all that magical all the time. It's mostly a matter of high enough ambient mana to express the genes, I think.

Maybe Shapechange would benefit from some variants; "Doppleganger" to turn into a specific person for example.
Dakka Dakka
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Apr 7 2010, 01:30 AM) *
So what about changing into a bird? Do you get the Flight skill?
No. But this does not hinder flying much. The Flight skill works exactly as the Running skill but in the air. It is only used to increase the movement above the "running" rate

QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Apr 7 2010, 01:30 AM) *
Are athletics/unarmed combat for animals the same skills as for (meta)humans?
For simplicity's sake I'd say yes.



QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Apr 7 2010, 01:30 AM) *
I'm inclined to call metahumans mundane-enough; it's possible to create bioware for them, so they're not all that magical all the time. It's mostly a matter of high enough ambient mana to express the genes, I think.
Me too.

QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Apr 7 2010, 01:30 AM) *
Maybe Shapechange would benefit from some variants; "Doppleganger" to turn into a specific person for example.
That's (Physical) Mask.
jimbo
QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Apr 6 2010, 07:30 PM) *
So what about changing into a bird? Do you get the Flight skill?


I guess that was my thought exactly...are animal skills meant to be innate? Same with a horse's running. Unfortunately, the rules for the spell only cover attributes and excluding powers would just be ridiculous.

So my completely unathletic mage turns into a horse and...can't run as well as other horses (but still runs ok do to higher str and muuuuuuch higher number stat). Wow, I can see that working either way.

Or my mage turns into a tiger, introspectively considers his plate-sized paw, and thinks, "what the hell do I do with this?" OR is a great cat's Unarmed 4 supposed to be innate?
Glyph
A mage who turns into a critter gets the base stat plus bonuses dependent on the net hits. That's plenty of dice for normal defaulting, so the mage shouldn't be helpless in a new form. For things like locomotion, attacking, and so forth, I would rule that the mage can default if lacking the skill in question.

Also, I would use the normal assumption for skills - that you don't need a skill roll for mundane actions. So just as you don't need the Pilot Ground Vehicle skill to drive to the supermarket, you don't need the Flight skill if you change to a bird - although you will have to make a test, defaulting to (Attribute - 1), for things like power dives or dodging a pursuing helicopter.
Ascalaphus
QUOTE (Dakka Dakka @ Apr 7 2010, 12:48 AM) *
That's (Physical) Mask.


Physical mask is an Illusion that can be resisted/needs to overcome Object Resistance. I'm talking physical transformation; the possibilities for transgendering are significant (and I doubt Physical Mask really suffices for that.)
Dakka Dakka
I am aware that phyiscal mask is an illusion and shapechange a physical manipulation. The problem with creating a spell is that magic is not intelligent. With an illusion it is lot easier to fool the subjects of the spell and let their minds/sensors fill in the blanks so that the ensemble makes sense. With Manipulation spells the caster has to get everything right.
Ascalaphus
True, you'd have to know the target very well to manage an accurate reproduction. But stuff like simsense can help you with that..
Banaticus
QUOTE (Mongoose @ Mar 31 2010, 11:05 AM) *
Octopusses (no, its NOT octopi)

Actually, since octopus is a Greek word, it should be octopodes.
Stahlseele
Octopussies.
*runs for his life*
Lansdren
ok heres my next question

Mage with bioware to increase logic,


Turns into a bird

Does he lose the logic bonus as the body (physical brain) has changed or keep it because mental stats stay the same?
I'm assuming it gets covered under losing access to cyberware but the question brings up what happens to the mind when he shifts
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