Looking for a little clarification about which qualities a mage keeps when turning in to an animal form. If my mage becomes a bear do I retain all my mage's abilities and gain the bear's abilities, or do I only have the bear's abilities? I know spell casting is at a vast disadvantage without the right merits but do I gain say, the bear's stamina and my mage's stamina. Lastly, does the bear's soak seem a little high to anyone? With Parma and the bear's soak of (I think) 15 or so a mage is near tank like. I am fairly new to the system so I am sure I have just managed to miss this section in the rules book. Any help is much appreciated.
Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults has the full rundown on page 23.
Regarding "physical" abilities, you only have the bear's (you'd use the bear's brawl, not yours). You still have access to your academic/arcane/supernatural abilities, except for those you obviously cannot use.
If the stats are of the same sign (both positive or both negative) you use the most extreme, if they are of opposite signs, you add them together: e.g. +6 and +2 -> +6, +6 and -2 -> +4. The size is that of the target animal regardless of the character's size. The character's Virtues and Flaws are kept and you add the animal's to them (unless they duplicate, of course, e.g. a Tough character turning into a Tough bear gets only one Tough Virtue bonus).
It has a +9 Soak in HoH:MC ... remember that the animals of Mythic Europe aren't biologically identical to our real animals; instead, the stats depend on how the animal is perceived (by the SG ).
Parma doesn't add to Soak. You get your Form Bonus, but to go from +9 to +15, you'd need a Form score of 30. And that'd only protect you from one kind of attack. Anyway, yes, it's a tank (remember the +2 Size, too), bears are scary. But a trained group (core book, page 172) will still mow it down.
Welcome! You didn't miss it, it's not in the main rule book, but in the Bjornaer chapter of the Mystery Cults book.
Hi Alexander, and welcome
The question you ask is probably best addressed in the book Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults in the section on the Bjornaer. If you havent got the book the answer depend on how you change shape. If you give us a bit more I'll look it up.
btw, I think the question of a bears soak isn't new to this edition of Ars - my players have argued it since 3rd edition!
Basically I think you might just say that what embodies a bear in mythical Europe is its fortitude.
[EDIT: only goes to show that you cannot leave your computer on mid-post for too long - you return and a fellow Grandmaster has already done a great job of answering it much more fulfilling ]
That's way being a bear Lycanthrope is a significant stroke of luck, in comparison to wolf or lynx ones, by the way. Less likelihood of being killed by a peasant hunting party if you escape bonds on a full-moon night and go on a rampage.
Bears are comparatively unsubtle, however. Likely as not, you'll wake up half the Baron's household when you knock over his beehives, and then leave a trail of honey all the way back to your front door.
When I was practising ArM5 character generation, I made a companion who started out as a bear and gained the ability to turn into a woman. It was difficult to get her abilities up to the level of a mundane bear given the points available (though perhaps I shouldn't have been trying to do that in the first place). The solution was Ways of the Forest, which I think makes logical sense too.
From the Beasts of Mythic Europe pdf on page 02 ,
A Bear has a Soak of +10 and its fur gives Protection +03.
A Bear Lycanthrope (page 55 , ArM 05) would have a Soak of +13.
HoH:MC gives different numbers (Sta +6, Soak +9) Did you check the updated Book of Mundane Beasts?
I came to the same conclusion after reading HoH:MC. I do think it's weird that you have to keep track of both ability scores: Bear Brawl and Human Brawl. Previous editions had characters getting used to their new bodies then using the same abilities if I remember right.
The online one is still the same as the copy i have.
Sta +04 and Soak +10 (Str is +06).
My copy of HoH:MC is still on its way.