Questions about shapeshifting spells

Hi everyone
I have a few questions about Shapeshifting spells (MuCo/An) that i would like to present here.
Please comment, or add other related questions to the topic.

In a previous thread (Diedne Magic and Magical Focus discussion) i have touched upon a slowly developing character concept of mine (I already have a Magus, so that’s why the progress is not in any hurry). This character is a Diedne Druid magus, who is specialized in MuCo/An, and casts spells with personal range - mainly. She shape shifts often, and wishes to enjoy all the flexibility that spontaneous cast shape shifting spells can give her (compared to the standard choice between wolf, and wolf :smiley:). Here is the question:
Is the requisite for a 'small cape of raven feathers' or a 'wolf skin' actually a necessary part of the spell, or does this just add to the flavour? I can't really see a reason as to why this should be a requirement rules wise. If it is, I’m considering wearing a quilted cloak, sewn together of many different animal skins, which should do the trick right? This could be a nice feature, giving her an ever-changing look - but would also set her out as a 'Skin changer' amongst the common folk/clergy etc. at the very first glance...

On another note she considers using an alternative fast-cast strategy versus some incoming spells. This involves altering her shape, so that she is no longer a valid target of the spell. One option would obviously be to change into an animal form, as per the spells above. Albeit her specialization, fast-casting spontaneous shape changing, will be challenging, so I'm looking for other options. One option would be to MuCo her size to +2 (as per Giant-blood virtue), but referring to the guidelines it is unclear to me whether this is within "Utterly change the size of a person (though they must still remain human in form)"? Since -2 (like the Dwarf flaw) is a possibility (Se Preternatural Growth and Shrinking spell ArMp131), who shouldn't +2 be legal? So here is a spell proposal:

Preternatural Potent Growth
MuCo 5 - Personal, Diameter, Individual
Adds +2 to the target's normal Size.
(Base 3, +1 Dia, +1 size)

All corrections, questions and comments are appreciated!

The cape is to give you something to symbolically remove and end the spell early - as I understand it shapechange spells can be cast without such an object but they will then last their full duration unless dispelled. Harnessed Magic or an animal to human spell you can cast without words or gestures would obviate the need. However, if you rely too much on being muto'd into yourself you will pick up warping for being under continuous effects like nobody's business. And the cloak is cool.

The size increase looks OK to me but remember it's only any use for protecting against corpus effects (well you'd have a bigger wound interval and a very slightly bigger soak but it won't much help against BoAF) that are not upsized.

This makes sense i guess. Thanks.

I know. Creating a wall of stone between myself and the spell, is more usefull in many situations. But since i want to take advantage of the flexibility of spontaneous magic I want to keep all options open. Also I wanted an alternative to fast-cast dispelling using Unravelling the Form. Speaking of Perdo Vim, since it seems you can actually target spells through touch, could you dispel an e.g. incoming Crystal Dart using a Touch-range version of Unravelling the Form?

Serf's parma:
Take that spell. Remove the magnitude changes that allow 2 kind of shape change. Change the range to personnal. Add +1 magnitude per extra size point you want. Here you are.

I'd add +2 magnitudes by +1 size or -2 size rather. Otherwise, magi are giants with a single base 15. Not sure it's appropriate.

IMHO I would only feel R: Touch is apporpriate for own spells, R: Voice or better is required for dispelling others spells.
I see the spells Sorcerer's Fork and Wizard's Boost are R:Touch as standard while Unravelling the Fabric... and Mirror of Opposition are R: Voice. I see the two first as spells you cast on your own spells, while the latter two are cast on an enemy's spells.

Yup. If a fireball touches you, you're already toast :wink:

For MuVi, the question is answered by the box about Muto Vim : touch for your spells, voice for other's.

The same would go IMS and IMO for perdo.

I can't see how this differs from the spell i already posted (see below) but thanks anyway.

Preternatural Potent Growth
MuCo 5 - Personal, Diameter, Individual
Adds +2 to the target's normal Size.
(Base 3, +1 Dia, +1 size)

Well, I was working without my books, so couldn't tell if this'd be different or not :wink:

Also, don't forget casting requisites for your clothes, or else, you'll hulk out :wink:

Good point - I don't want to ruin my fancy cloak :slight_smile:

I'm considering making my Magus come from house Ex-Miscellanea, for obvious reasons. Thus I'm doing a take on a 'Shapeshifter Major Supernatural Virtue', that goes along with the vMinor Hermetic Virtue Minor Magical Focus: Self Transformation', as well as the 'Major Hermetic Flaw Short-Ranged Magic'. Not quite sure what to put in the Supernatural Virtue yet, so I'm putting up some ideas for you to comment on:

[i]Skinchanger, Major Supernatural
When changing form, the character remains most parts of his humanity, rather than being overtaken by the features of the adopted shape.
When adopting another shape and comparing the human characteristics vs. the new shape’s characteristics (as per Mystery Cults p23: Statistics of Shapechangers) retain the human score, if higher. That is:

  • If no scores are negative, use the: Higher score (Higher score)
  • If no scores are positive, use the: Human score (Lower score)
  • If human score is positive and new is negative: Human score (Average score)
  • If new score is positive and human is negative: Average score (Average score)

Thus this is only an advantage when the new shape has a negative score, which is lower than the score of the human form (which could be described like this):

  • If no scores are negative, use the: Higher score
  • If new score is ‘+’ and human is ‘-‘, use the: Average score
  • If new score is negative, use the Human score

Note that one always retain human intelligence (rather than cunning), as per the standard rules.

This virtue also includes the Minor Supernatural Virtue: Unbound Tongue (Mystery Cults p38), allowing the character to speak any human languages (that he knows) without penalty while in another shape. This also means that a Magus in non-human form doesn’t suffer the usual penalties to spellcasting, for lacking verbal components.

Rules above generally have the following effects:

  • Creatures remain ‘Communicative’
  • Creatures remain ‘Presentable’
  • Small creatures remain ‘Strong’
  • Large creatures remain ‘Dextrous’[/i]

Other possibilities I've pondered includes "Unbound Gear", but in our saga we aready have a house rule stating that when we shapeshift (or teleport) we get to include all gear without a load, that we are currently carrying on our persons (doesn't work, if we try to cheat, by wearing the treasure chest or something like that, since the gear has to have some sort of connection to us from wearing it). It might also be an idea to include Inoffensive to animals.

Please give me some comments and/or better suggestions

I think that, unbound tongue part is worth +1, but the all "remaining score" is only +1 (IMO) value, so for a +3 virtue, it seems a little cheap to me. I'd include something else to equal the 3 points worth virtue.

That will turn this Major Virtue into a collection of three Minor Virtues, a long the lines of Strong Faerie Blood. I might throw in Inoffensive to Animals or something similar then.
Thanks for your comment.

I would have suggested something imitating an included minor focus in self transformation in animals.

It's more restricted than a minor focus, and it could stack with a focus, for massive transformation in animals spells (because penetration is a matter for those type of spell).

Something like the "focus" in chtonic magic, but restricted to self transformation in animals.

With that 3 elements (unbound tongue, "focus" and "keep remaining abilities"), I really would considerate it worht the cost of a major supernatural virtue for an exmiscellanea specialist in shapeshifting.

Chtonic Magic-like? - that's something very different and much more powerful than what i had in mind :slight_smile:
I like the concept in terms of boosting my casting total (since it needs to rock, if I am to get anywhere), but I'm not sure with a few other things.

First of all, i thought Supernatural Virtues should include Supernatural powers, and not start to meddle with Hermetic powers directly (although inderect effects would be okay, such as the case with Unbound Tongue above). This could be solved easily by including this 'focus' in the Ex-Miscellanea Package as the Minor Hermetic house virtue instead, though.

On another note, i can't seem to figure out how this balances out. There are so many bonuses and drawbacks in Chtonic Magic, that i don't really know how big a part this bonus plays. As you mentioned, it would be more limited than a Minor Magical Focus, so in that sense it should be okay. On the other hand, you are only allowed to have one Magical Focus - probably to avoid something like what my Maga would potentially be granted: Lowest art x4! (Diedne Magic + Minor Focus: Self-Transformation + Cthonic-like Shapechanging focus bonus).

Do you still find it balanced? - maybe I'm overestimating the power of this extra focus... Could we find similar/other good options?
Maybe something along the lines of the Skinchanger Virtue that adds +3 to soak, while in the Animal form (never really realized why this had an in-built Tough Virtue, when the more flexible Major Virtue Shapeshifter does not). Or maybe the character has learned to appreciate and follow his senses through the acuteness of senses he has experienced while Shapechanged - granting him the virtues of Keen Vision and Sharp Ears while in his human form.

  1. Chtonic magic is as supernatural than hermetic
  2. it's not a "focus" in the hermetic term. It's a bonus to shapechanging. If you do not like the idea of something "hermetic", you can plainly say: +9 to all shapeshifting roll, which would worth for shapeshanging ability aswell :wink:.
  3. Since your magus is allowed RAW for 1 major hermetic, you could have this supernatural, the minor focus, and maybe Diedne magic.
    Nothing fancy, and nothin new since you could also be a Venatores ex Miscellanea with chtonic magic as supernatural virtue (because it's not only hermetic), diedne magic as hermetic major and minor focus...

And penetration remain an issue for such character, since shapechanging spells are higher levels than immediate destruction spells. This major supernatural virtue would give him an equivalent power, but in a narrow field. (and the focus mechanism is bad if you haven't all arts - and requisite - up.

It's only about finding what suits your saga/troupe best.

  1. What was important was to say: if you do not add something, the major virtue stinks. And "something" could be a focus like bonus or a fixed bonus. The fixed bonus make more sense if you are considerating this virtue as supernatural also, the focus like if it's only for an hermeticaly integrated ex miscellanea tradition.

As I read it, the whole concept is about self-transformation. You don't need penetration for R:Personal.

BUt you do when a spell (the transformation) affect another person with magic resistance.
(it's the same thing that a Muto'd branch into a cathedral hit a magus... it needs to penetrate, but you also have to penetrate the branch to transform it, you know, the difference between the direct and indirect penetration)

ANd being a dragon unable to hurt a might 1 creature is lame.

Oh, you don't need Penetration to become a magical animal, but need Penetration for your claw to pierce MR. Now I see.