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  • Shapeshifter durations?

    Set 3 arrived today, and I noticed something odd: Small/Large Animal Form duration is in rounds; Vicious Animal Form is in minutes. I'm assuming one is in error.

    Personally, I think even if the duration is in minutes, it might be too short - iirc Morrigan talked about transforming for days at a time.

  • #2
    Re: Shapeshifter durations?

    Originally posted by shonuff View Post
    Set 3 arrived today, and I noticed something odd: Small/Large Animal Form duration is in rounds; Vicious Animal Form is in minutes. I'm assuming one is in error.

    Personally, I think even if the duration is in minutes, it might be too short - iirc Morrigan talked about transforming for days at a time.
    I was also perplexed. I suggested to my players that Minutes was the intended duration. I welcome correction and reasoning, however.

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    • #3
      Re: Shapeshifter durations?

      Might I suggest the rounds apply whilst in combat and the minutes be disregarded. Out of battle, you can remain in your chosen animal form until you choose to revert to your human form or another animal form. It sounds reasonable to me...
      I can be friendly when I desire to. Alas, desiring to be more intelligent does not make it so.
      --Morrigan, Dragon Age Origins

      What Dragon Age Origins Character Are You?


      Please feel free to catch up with me elsewhere, such as on my Blog, or at Twitter, YouTube or Steam.

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      • #4
        Re: Shapeshifter durations?

        Originally posted by Vosoros View Post
        Might I suggest the rounds apply whilst in combat and the minutes be disregarded. Out of battle, you can remain in your chosen animal form until you choose to revert to your human form or another animal form. It sounds reasonable to me...
        So once a fight starts, there's a strange metaphysical change to the environment which means you can't maintain your form?

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        • #5
          Re: Shapeshifter durations?

          Originally posted by shonuff View Post
          Set 3 arrived today, and I noticed something odd: Small/Large Animal Form duration is in rounds; Vicious Animal Form is in minutes. I'm assuming one is in error.

          Personally, I think even if the duration is in minutes, it might be too short - iirc Morrigan talked about transforming for days at a time.
          It's conceivable that Morrigan was exaggerating (or outright lying), although I actually believe her. It might also be that she's just an exception to the rules; being a daughter of Flemeth probably has its perks.

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          • #6
            Re: Shapeshifter durations?

            Conceivable, but doubtful - she had no reason to lie. And I don't think Morrigan would gain anything by being one of Flemeth's daughters that someone else couldn't gain. She's neither Flemeth nor Flemeth's blood.

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            • #7
              Re: Shapeshifter durations?

              Originally posted by Vosoros View Post
              Might I suggest the rounds apply whilst in combat and the minutes be disregarded. Out of battle, you can remain in your chosen animal form until you choose to revert to your human form or another animal form. It sounds reasonable to me...
              I don't see a reason to do that. A small animal is weaker than a level 6 mage, a large animal is probably weaker than a level 8 mage. I'd have to look again at the vicious animals. I don't see a balance reason to impose an MP cost, major action, and potential mishap on becoming something weaker.

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              • #8
                Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                Originally posted by OzMills View Post
                I was also perplexed. I suggested to my players that Minutes was the intended duration. I welcome correction and reasoning, however.
                With minutes you're still running into the problem that you'd be weaker in combat, but a duration of minutes wouldn't really let you explore the RP benefits of a different form

                I'm thinking about:
                1. Double MP cost and no maintenance.
                2. Duration - until reverts back or caster loses consciousness (including sleep).
                3. Cannot regain MP while shapeshifted.

                Reasoning: First, I believe Morrigan about her duration, and once you get past the minutes unit, a duration is somewhat pointless, IMO.

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                • #9
                  Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                  One other possible homerule would be that a "better" shapeshifting spell gives you one "category" of duration more. So Changing to a dog with Large Animal Form would last minutes. Changing into a bear with Vicious Beast Form would last hours (a "category" above minutes). And using that same spell for changing into a dog or some other "easy" form would actually let you maintain the spell for days.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                    Yeah, I thought about something along those lines, as well. And while it probably makes more sense to show a growing power, my issue is that once you get into a duration of hours, duration becomes meaningless - MP expenditures are regenerated. More bookkeeping for little gain.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                      MP doesn't regenerate as fast as you seem to imply. It requires resting - for high-level mage it would be around an hour of rest for a single tick of vicious beast form. And if you change into some animal it's probably not to relax in your new form. Even if your GM allows normal resting and keeping such spells going at the same time - and I'm not sure if I would allow such a feat. Mana is closely tied to your lifeforce - can you really rest if you keep expending it to sustain your spells?
                      Also, I don't think it would require a lot of bookkeeping. It's a simple subtraction plus a bit of figuring out how long the mage managed to rest/meditate between casting the spell and moment-when-it-gets-important-how-drained-of-mana-he-is.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                        Originally posted by eliastion View Post
                        MP doesn't regenerate as fast as you seem to imply. It requires resting - for high-level mage it would be around an hour of rest for a single tick of vicious beast form. And if you change into some animal it's probably not to relax in your new form. Even if your GM allows normal resting and keeping such spells going at the same time - and I'm not sure if I would allow such a feat. Mana is closely tied to your lifeforce - can you really rest if you keep expending it to sustain your spells?
                        It does if you get into hours and days for your durations - 8 hours rest has you at full MP, regardless of the total expenditure. So if SAF has it's duration in days, 8 hours of sleep would have you at full, so you could maintain the spell indefinitely. If the max duration of LAF were in hours, it would only take approximately 100 MP for about a 14hour duration (assuming a MAG of 6), which is easily attainable, especially with the MP reductions. That gives ample time to get an 8 hour cat nap, or bronto nap.... And then you can keep extending.

                        The spell doesn't stipulate when the extra expenditure is spent... Whether at the beginning, in the middle, or both. Rock Armor, for example, is all spent at the beginning, and there is nothing that says Rock Armor expires if the caster isn't awake. The MP is expended and the spell is cast. Even then, strictly speaking, mages are conscious while they are in the Fade or dreaming - that's why they are so susceptible to possession.

                        And if a mage is an animal for hours or days, they would have to rest. And when they rest, they regain MP.

                        So once you get into durations of hours, duration ceases to matter. It's essentially indefinite.

                        Also, I don't think it would require a lot of bookkeeping. It's a simple subtraction plus a bit of figuring out how long the mage managed to rest/meditate between casting the spell and moment-when-it-gets-important-how-drained-of-mana-he-is.
                        Not a lot. More.

                        If you wanted to be a horse for a day, you have to figure out the initial casting time, the current casting time, and the MP expenditure. All of that is more than "Did you sleep?" And ultimately, little gain.

                        On a side note, the MP ticks in the RAW need work. As-is, it costs more/round to maintain than it does to cast, especially if you factor what is reasonably expected for a mage to have. LAF is 10/3, so the price/round is double to maintain at MAG 6 (a reasonable expectation).

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                        • #13
                          Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                          Originally posted by shonuff View Post
                          Conceivable, but doubtful - she had no reason to lie. And I don't think Morrigan would gain anything by being one of Flemeth's daughters that someone else couldn't gain. She's neither Flemeth nor Flemeth's blood.
                          Was it definitively established that Morrigan wasn't Flemeth's biological daughter? One of the dialogue options in Origins has you asking something of the sort, but my recollection (which is admittedly a little fuzzy) is that Morrigan wasn't really sure of the answer herself; she ends up sidestepping the question by saying that whether or not Flemeth gave birth to her, Flemeth still raised her--which makes her Flemeth's daughter, for all intents and purposes.

                          Even if Morrigan wasn't Flemeth's blood, the fact remains that Flemeth--who clearly isn't bound by the shapeshifting rules in Set 3, given that she could assume the form of a high dragon--was her teacher; Flemeth could have taught Morrigan not only the art of shapeshifting (as represented in the Set 3 rules), but possibly how to overcome the usual limitations. And while it's true that someone else *could* gain that knowledge as well, it doesn't mean that they *will*. I have a hunch that Flemeth wouldn't be willing to share those secrets with anyone but her daughters; while it's true that others might also figure out how to indefinitely extend the duration of a shapeshift, it doesn't mean that such people are common--or that they'd part with such information very easily.

                          Having said all that, I agree with you, inasmuch as the duration for remaining shapeshifted seems way too short. If your group decides to house-rule this one so that Shapeshifters can remain in animal form for hours (or even days) at a time, more power to you; I'll probably do the same thing, if I ever run the game.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                            To turn the question around, what is so bad about a shapeshifer being a dog or cat for several days?

                            After all, that is several days where they cannot cast spells or use items or communicate in any way except writing (something animal paws are very bad at). Days where they are eating whatever the animal normally eats (if you've turned into a cat then you'd beter like raw meat :-). Days when their clothes and gear has to be either well-hidden or carried by someone else in the party. Are you going to carry the mage's backpack while she frolics in the trees as a squirrel?

                            What is wrong with a shapeshifter turning into a bear for an hour? They still have their own health, so they are a pretty fragile bear. They can't cast spells (which includes Heal!), they can't use skills (like Healing!), they can't use items (like healing potions, if there is no-one near them to unstopper the flask and pour it down their throat!).

                            Personally, I'm not seeing any bonus from the spec, either in the computer game or the pen-and-paper game.
                            Accordingly, I'd rule generously on the duration.

                            I'd also change the requirement from CON to WIL - Morrigan says what is important is to understand the animal.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Shapeshifter durations?

                              Originally posted by Havokk View Post
                              To turn the question around, what is so bad about a shapeshifer being a dog or cat for several days?
                              Nothing. It's more of a discussion on "long duration" vs. "other long duration."

                              I'd also change the requirement from CON to WIL - Morrigan says what is important is to understand the animal.
                              I agree with your why but IMO it would fall under PER (which is what I'm using).

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