Shapechanging magic items

If a magic item has 2 physical form which it can change between by means of a magical effect (Say a bow and a Ring) would it be able to make use of the shape and form modifiers for both shapes I can see three options and wondered which one was the correct one or if anyone else had a more interesting idea

1)Yes. Both sets of bonuses can be used

  1. An effect which can only be used as in the bow shape can use the bow bonuses while an effect used in ring form can use the ring bonuses

  2. No. Only the base shape bonuses count regardless of shape or material changing magical shinanigans.

I would expect Talisman attunement bonuses to follow the same rule
(I think it is 3)

Opinions (and Houserules) differ widely - and I can say with some confidence that bc this was kicked around not long ago:

(The OP in that thread addresses only Talismans, but the thread expands to consider the broader question that you are asking)

In short, for many posters, it seems to come down to "True Nature" - what the thing is, before (Muto) magic changes it. So, by this view, a ring changed to a bow is still a ring for most all magical purposes, and similarly a bow changed to a ring is always a bow. (Sim for material.)

From a purely game-balance perspective, while a 2-shape item is not a headache, a stronger Muto effect could allow any number of shapes and/or materials, and that opens the door to a lot of abuse - for some SG's. Others welcome such "creativity" - ysmv.

That option goes best with the "mythical" thingy, and i think it´s a decent choice, but yeah option 3 is probably the RAW one. Maybe...

I would also go for option 3...

Option 3. Both because of the 'Essential Nature' thingy, and because otherwise you quickly get players who will read down the lists of shape and material bonus and get all the ones they want, whether that makes sense or not, with a couple of Muto/Rego spells.

Now, if a player wants to find an item who has the object equivalent of a Bjornaer Heartbeast, that's a different story. And I do mean it is a story: clearly a long and difficult quest awaits, which deserves a unique reward :wink:

I go with option 3, too.


I would go even further than option 3, and say that the item loses its shape bonuses whenever it's in a "non-native" shape.
This wouldn't matter much for enchanted items (I wouldn't rule that the effects no longer work!), unless you wanted to subtract from built-in Penetration.
However, for talismans, it could lose a few attunements.

I find this to be very problematic. For example, what happens when your greatsword changes into a short sword? In terms of attunements/bonuses, it's still in it's native shape. But it's not in its native physical shape. Or how about having a suit of armor that changes into clothing or vice versa, where the bonus to protect the wearer is still present although its size has changed. At very least you need to do much better than "non-native," meaning you need to define native vs. non-native pretty precisely. If you're consistent, this would also have ramifications if your familiar shapechanges into a person, for example.

This is why my preference is to stick with #3. I go with the bonuses being tied only to essential nature, which doesn't change.


That´s not really going to be a problem as long as you only allow the bonus of CURRENT shape to be in effect and state that any transformation must be part of the item and only a single transformation per item effect.
Sure you can add a bunch of transformations, but they´re going to cost a good deal of time and you can still only make active use of one set of bonus at a time.

And if someone wants to spend lots of time(ie several, maybe many, years) on making their talisman able to take 10 different shapes and add at least one bonus for all shapes, well why not? Even if only the very best of bonuses are picked, most will still be in the 4-6 range and if you spent 5-10 years to get 10 of those transformation+bonus, well they could probably have got similar improvements by just improving Arts.
A minimum of 20 seasons spent studying Arts, for simplicity say 10XP per season, twice each 5 Forms, twice each Technique, that probably raises both Te/Fo involved at least by 1, for a novice magi, more likely 2 each, meaning you get 2-4 bonus for 25 Te/Fo combinations, each of which already covers more than most S/M bonuses and can be used in more places...

So basically, the transformation+bonus could be very useful for older or specialist magi, but studying is generally much more effective. And transformation+bonus style stuff, is pretty cool so why not allow it?

Told you already, although you appear un-able/willing to consider it.
Both forms have the same S&M bonus, which is in resonance with the item's essential nature, so this works. In changing your greatsword into a staff? Not so much.
It's like changing a human into another human: the details may be different, but he's still human, not a dog or a stone, and any stranger looking at him would recognize him as a human being, which he really is. Likewise, he'll still be able to drive his car, whereas, as a rock or dog, he wouldn't.
But being more restrictive (a greatsword is a greatsword is a greatsword, not a shortsword) works perfectly fine, too.

Your solution? IMO, it just means that every magus has a great incentive to choose the S&M he prefers, and then change his item into a ring for stealth and portability, and then to a staff when needing the extra range. To me, this is much less mystical and magical than the above, and absolutely no less (or more) bug-free.

OTOH, DW may have a point. Although I disagree metaphysically speaking, this might make for a good mystery virtue. Something in which you mystically merge 2+ items into one, allowing it to change shapes, with the possibility to benefit from the bonuses linked to its current shape

Let's be honest:

If you read what I wrote, I clearly not only considered your stance and found it viable, but I asked a question to clear up a specific question about it. After this you made no reply in that thread.

What about the other half of my question? What do you rule for a suit of armor changed into a shirt? That's not quite as easy an answer.


Is it? Only if you're absolutely nitpicking. And even then.

Take a broadsword. It'll use the S&M of a sword. The same thing goes for the short sword, because both are swords, just like you and I, despite our differences, are both human.

Take a shirt. Would you give it the S&M bonuses of Armor if attuning it? If so, then an armor changed into a shirt keeps its bonuses, since a shirt is "armor". If no, it doesn't, since a shirt isn't armor. Me? I'd say a shirt isn't, but YMM perfectly Vary.

So I didn't answer it because, to me, this is perfectly clear: The item's true shape (what you call its essential nature) and its current shape must share S&M bonuses for the same form (staff, sword, anvil, whatever). If these do not match, the mystical connection is broken, because the item is neither one or the other.
This is just how hard is the answer. As hard as what happens anytime a player wants to claim S&M bonuses for an item.

You may not like this solution, which is perfectly your right, but I'd like it if you stopped trying to show it as bugged and inconsistent. It is no more than the pure "essential nature" answer, which has every magus wielding a doorway/mirror/bow/anvil/armor/crowbar/crown/whatever shapechanged into a simple, more durable and, above all, much less conspicuous ring while still keeping all the bonuses.

Read what I quoted of my own writing. I said it is viable. There's just a lack of clarity I'm trying to understand. I'm not at all showing it is bugged or inconsistent. Rather I've said the opposite. How is it you read exactly the opposite of what was written? I'm asking a simple question that still hasn't been answered so I can understand. If you're not willing to explain when someone actually wants to understand, why bother saying anything about your point in the first place? You even jumped on me for not trying to understand when you were the one who hadn't answered! And when I do try to understand you're upset, yet that's what you wanted me to do! Let me make it simpler with several examples because you seem to have entirely skipped part of my earlier question based on how you replied to the shirt and armor.

Shape 1: MuHe +2, ReHe +2
Shape 2: ReHe +2

Do these (#1 and #2) share a shape/material bonus by your system or not? Do you retain the ReHe+2 when switching from one to the other even if the MuHe bonus is lost or not gained? Or is it that an difference overrules any similarity?

Shape 3: ReHe +3
Shape 4: ReHe +2

Do these (#3 and #4) share a shape/material bonus by your system or not? If you retain the ReHe bonus, is it reduced to +2 when going from shape/material 3 to shape/material 4? Does it have to be what is attuned or also the specific bonus that is attuned?

Shape 5: MuHe +2
Material 5: ReHe +2
Shape 6: ReHe +2
Material 6: MuHe +2

Does an object with Shape 5 and Material 5 when shapechanged into Shape 6 and Material 6 retain its bonuses? Or because the shape would lose the bonus and the material would lose the bonus, even though you end up with the same bonus overall you actually lose both?


To tell the truth, I'm really surprised.
Since it is I who generally struggle to keep up with your reasoning, and since you've been really poking at something that seems so simple to me, it really seemed that way, as it didn't occur to me that you, of all people, would have trouble with this. For what it's worth, I apologize. Maybe it's me that convey things unclearly.

The answer is pretty simple: None of the above.

When I said that the item's true form and its changed form must share S&M bonuses for the same form, I meant exactly that.
That is, if using the "crown" shape bonus, the changed form must be eligible for this same bonus.

Like, if shapechanging someone into another human, he still belongs to the "human" category (Say, Hands +x), even though you've taken a slim black man and changed him into a fat asian woman. Had you changed him into an ape (Hands +y), he would no longer belong to the "human" category, despite the similarities, so the mystical link to the "Human" shape is broken.

That keeps it simple, and explains why there might be so many different talismans.
It doesn't stop shapechanging items. It just means that, if your item isn't under an appropriate shape that isn't its "true" shape, you can't use S&M bonuses.

OK. It makes sense to me now. The reason I wasn't sure is that your example was to allow an iron greatsword transformed into a bronze shortsword to keep the sword bonuses since all that mattered for sword bonuses was to keep the sword shape, meaning having some of the same attunements overall but not all of them. Knowing some attunements could be changed while others were retained, I wasn't sure where the cut-offs were. Similarly, my last example had exactly the same shape/material bonuses, which could have fit - I just had no way to know in that case.


Edit: I wanted to add that, given this clarity of shape and material being evaluated separately, I prefer your method to what I think is intended by the books, at least when I disregard familiars. I like it for just the reason you are a proponent of it. I just have to decide if that like is greater than my struggle with the parallel between familiars and talismans, the former's bonds being even more strongly tied to shape/material than the latter's. There's a good chance I may end up saying "Well, they're different, so who cares," which is I think what you decided so that you can keep the superior flavor for the talismans.


Change Bronze to bronze, metaphysically, it's still bronze, whatever the form, so you can keep the bronze form bonuses.
Change a sword to a sword, metaphysically, it's still a sword, whatever the material, so you keep the bronze shape bonuses.

As for familiar, as I told you, I don't see the two as being as similar as you do, so I don't have the same problem. But this is a point largely ignored by the rules, which could rule any of the above solutions.