It does seem a bit high, and counter-intuitive compared to most other level 30 spells.
Still, without fudging the RAW (too much, that is), considering that the CrAn guidelines states "Most [NOT "All"...]Animal spells cannot be used with Personal Range", I'd envision a CrAn base of 3 written as "create an animal product worn by the caster for the duration of the spell".
Its not perfect, as it implies that if removed such garment would dissipate even before reaching the duration of the spell, but this limitation seems like a fair trade to me. Spells like "BearSkin" would be knocked down to level 15, even with moon duration (since Touch becomes Pers.).
Or magi could just use Muto... with something like this : Grand Unfold of the Unconspicuous Pelisse
R: Personal, D: Moon, T: Individual
Changes the size of a short fur lined/trimmed outer garment, like a short jacket or even a discreet shoulder shawl, to a full long cloak of the same material. Naturally, since the range is personal, the garment has to be worn by the caster, when casting the spell, but removing the garment doesn't dispell the "re-sizement" (ahem ) magic.
( base 4, +3 Moon (Muto spares you the "+1 finished product" requirement))
The use of a prop allows you to easily end the spell before its intended duration.
Of course, as explained above by someone (probably C-Hound), you're perfectly free to invent a spell that doesn't need the prop, but then, you either have to wait until it runs out, or use PeVi magics to dispell it.
Compare, for exemple, Shape of the Woodland Prowler to Curse of Circe.
Actually, this is just another legacy hiccup. In earlier editions, every spell had a "Sepll Focus" that helped the mage cast it - and this was that for this spell. By the time it made it to 5th ed, the cloak had lost any real reason to be there, but was kept for colour, an echo of an earlier time (either game system or magic theory, your choice).
I agree about "the feel" - but, as pointed out above, no(?) other long-duration spell has the built-in ability to be canceled at will, nor is there any reference to such in the guidelines. So that leaves this spell, as defined, as an unexplained aberration. Not that those can't exist, but, as a canon spell... hrmmm.
(For those unfamiliar w/ earlier additions of AM, every spell had a "focus", an optional physical item that would give a small(ish) casting bonus if the magi used such an item while casting that spell - sim to "material components" in other fantasy RPG's, but in Ars not necessary to cast the effect. The various foci were approp to the specific effects, with rare items giving bigger (up to +5?) casting bonuses. And, as seen in this example, some foci became part of the color of the spell - see MuCo guidelines.)
I also agree that the feel of the props used as foci in ye olden days were cool. Since this occurs only rarely in 5th ed as an exception, the spell description should note that this is an abberation to the rule. A side effect from the original magus who invented it by experimentation.
Serf's parma, but, IIRC, all MuCo shapechanging spells that are not designed as "curses" share that same design: Need a focus + can be cancelled at will by dropping it (whereas a normal spell would run its entire duration unless canceled by magic)
Hardly an isolated abberation. There is consistency and tradeof.
I keep getting the idea that this was explicitely said somewhere, but if it was on these boards And then, maybe I'm wrong and it wasn't, being just a deducted rule
Heh, since this topic has been being kicked around for almost 3 weeks now, I certainly hope you're including yourself in that declamation, altho' you were the first to (re)find it.
I think the problem is that no one had re-read that wall(ish) for a while, and had forgotten/overlooked that canon exception to the rules - but it's certainly there. (Don't do a lot of animal-shaper magi myself.)
Interesting. I wonder now if that's the only formal comment on such "(non)legacy" effects adapted into 5th ed, or if there are others.
Apparently we do not! After all these years I just tend to get down to the nuts and bolts of the guideline levels. I thoght for a moment I could excuse myself that my help sheet with the collated guidelines had omitted this text to save space, but ala it is right there...
My best excuse is know that a foul rival magus has cast a PeMe spel on me to ensure I do not see this particular bit of text except when pointed to it deliberaterly. Must be a Tytalus plot!