SG: Shape Changer Characters
A therianthrope of any kind needs to reflect the type of shifter in their high concept aspect. Whether the character is a cursed were, feral lycan, or a primal, it must reflected in this aspect. The were aspect can be invoked in order to gain a bonus to any roll relating to the character’s animalistic nature. Notice and Investigation rolls that depend on a particular sense that might be better for the character’s animal side can receive a bonus due to invoking the high concept of a shape changer.
While all shape changers can shift, many cannot do so at will or have restrictions. However, they can all purchase shifter stunts such as fast healing and enhanced senses. Examples of these stunts are in the powers section.
By default, all shifters have a human form and an animal form. The animal may be unusually large and fierce looking, at the player's option. In some games, it may be thematically appropriate to a have part-human, part-wolf form. This is largely cosmetic -- use the same skill pyramid you use for your animal form for any in-between form as well. See the therianthrope stunts below for details on building your beast-form pyramid.
The Cursed. Shifting for those cursed with therianthropy is always extremely painful. As muscle and bone reform beneath the stretching, tearing skin, the body produces a viscous fluid in an attempt to soothe the transformation. When the skin finally ruptures and falls away, it leaves behind a wet, sticky mess of globby fur and shredded skin.
The Cursed have no direct control over their shapeshifting. When subjected to extremes of emotion, the GM can compel the aspect. The cursed can never choose to shift.
Ferals. Less extreme for ferals, their shifts are nonetheless still quite painful. Some fluid is generated in this process as well, leaving behind some skin with it.
They shift depending on the phase of the moon. Ferals should pick a phase of the moon with special meaning to their character. Many times, this may be the full moon, but it need not necessarily be so. Whatever the choice, there are three days a month in which they are able to shift
Primals. Painful only the first few times, primals usually become used to the experience, after which it is more taxing than tortuous. Skin seems more pliant and muscles more supple as bones reshape inside. The only sign of recent shapeshifting is perhaps a sweaty sheen on the skin of a primal in human form. There are no signs left behind at the scene when a primal shifts.
Primals can shape shift as they choose, once they have reached a mature age, or once they have survived that moment of crisis when they discover what they can do.
Creating Therianthrope Characters
As mentioned previously, a were-creature needs to take something in his high concept to indicate what he or she is. Examples of the cursed might be:
- Cursed Were-boar Police Officer
- Cursed Were-wolverine Basketball Star
Ferals can take a similar approach:
- Feral Teen Waitress
- Lycan Pack Alpha
Primals can be any kind of were-creature:
- Primal Werewolf Hunter
- Primal Were-fox International Thief
The second thing to do is to choose a shape shifting stunt. All weres must take one of cursed shifting, feral shifting, or primal shifting. You must pay for this shape shifting stunt by reducing your Refresh by 1. No therianthrope can possess more than one of these three stunts.
Cursed Shape Changing. You can’t control your shifting. It happens only when you suffer extremes of emotions, whether they are positive or negative. But when you do, you become a nearly unstoppable engine of destruction!
Make an alternate version of your skill pyramid. It should have all the same “slots” — the structure should be exactly the same. But, you can place any physical or sensory skills near the top of your skill pyramid (or columns if your character is experienced). Other skills, especially those involving social interaction tend to settle to the bottom.
Bonus: You also gain two physical stress boxes while changed and one point of armor that absorbs one physical stress per successful attack against you. (Armor:1 as noted in some versions of Fate.)
Consequence: If a character with Cursed Shape Changing dies, the deranged animal spirit will attempt to attach itself to another mortal. It will avoid supernatural beings. When it finds one, the victim must make a Will roll against a Fair (+2) difficulty. Success means the character has warded away the spirit, which then moves on. It will try up to three separate times before fading away into some otherworld destination for spirits.
Feral Shape Changing. Ferals can only shift to animal form on days and nights of their chosen moon. This includes one day before and one day after the chosen phase of the moon for a total of three days of every lunar month. However, where the cursed can never change their fate, some ferals are able to change outside of that date range with enough time and experience. In game terms, a separate stunt must be purchased to achieve this. Like the cursed, a feral should make an alternate skill pyramid to represent their animal form. See the cursed stunt above for details on how to do this.
Bonus: Ferals are especially strong. They gain a +1 to overcome and create an advantage rolls using Physique.
Consequence: If a feral is responsible for a physical injury such as a consequence, or takes part in an exchange of body fluids with a mortal, that mortal has a chance of contracting lycanthropy. See the above section on ferals under Types of Therianthropy.
Primal Shape Changing. Primals can shift when they wish to do so, though only after they have “awakened” to their nature. Although originally from Faerie, not all primals in the mortal realm are aware of what they are and what they can do, especially if they were born and raised among humans. Like the cursed, a primal should make an alternate skill pyramid to represent their animal form. See the cursed stunt above for details on how to do this.
Bonus: Shift to animal form at will.
Consequence: Upon shifting back to human form, take a mild consequence, “Physically Drained”.
Next: Shape Changer Powers