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Old 08-26-2015, 03:42 PM   #1
jaz0nj4ckal
 
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Default Human shape shifter

So, I am looking over the 4E books, and noticed the shape-shifting advantage; however, I am a little lost. Do I make the other form a racial template?

For example - I have an idea of a character that can turn in to a tiger: full tiger and hybrid form. Should I make each version a racial template on top of my skills?
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Old 08-26-2015, 03:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Make or select a pre-made template for your base form. If your base form is Human then the template will simply be Human [0].

Make (or select) a template for the alternate form. If selecting a template you may need to make some changes to it (for instance, if making a Were-Wolf you might start out with a basic Wolf template, but if you want to keep the human mentality in wolf form you may need to adjust the template to remove IQ penalties and bestial mental disadvantages).

When changing forms you remove one template from the character and apply the other one. If the templates are simple you might be able to manage this with a few notes, but if the templates are complex the easiest way of doing this is to keep two (or more) character sheets, one with each racial template applied to it. Only traits that are part of the racial templates change; personal traits including skills, advantages, disadvantages, attributes, etc. will be available in both forms. However, some traits may be unusable; if you change into a standard Wolf you won't be able to wield a sword so your sword skills will be useless, and you also may be unable to speak so any skills or abilities which rely on speech will be unusable.

Note that Chapter 15: Creating Templates of the Basic Set has more discussion on creating Racial Templates, starting on p. 450. Most important here is that all Racial Templates need to be designed and/or approved by the GM.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Each form will have its own racial template. When you pay for these, you only have to pay for the HIGHEST of the two (and you multiply that by .9)

For example. I decide I'm going to have two wolf forms.

wolf [10]:
quadreped [-35], Enhanced Move 1 [20], teeth [3], fur [1], discriminating smell [15], acute smell 3 [6]

wolf man [35]:
Enhanced Move .5 [10], teeth [3], fur [1], discriminating smell [15], acute smell 3 [6]

You pay 15 points for each form, plus 90% of the highest form, with is the wolfman: [32] points. This is a total of 62 points.

A kind GM may say that since the wolf is just an extension of the wolf man, its an alternate ability (as per powers) and thus you only pay 15/5 = 3 for it, and the whole thing only is worth [50]. But that's a GM call.

Note: Yes, these are simplified, of course. And the value for teeth may be off, and there is no attribute change. But this is just a demonstration.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Note: You pay the cost of the difference between your base form cost and the highest cost racial template you can turn into; if the base form is more expensive then you pay 0 points. For humans the base form cost is 0, but this is not true if the base form isn't human. An Elf [40] who can turn into a Bear [70] will pay 90% of the difference between 70 and 40, or 70-40=30; 30*0.9=27 (plus the cost of Alternate Form advantage itself, which is 15 points).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
A kind GM may say that since the wolf is just an extension of the wolf man, its an alternate ability (as per powers) and thus you only pay 15/5 = 3 for it, and the whole thing only is worth [50]. But that's a GM call.
And a house rule. Under the standard rules you should never use the Alternate Abilities rule from Powers on the Alternate Form advantage. Alternate Form already has a discount built into it, in that you are paying only 90% of the cost for the highest template, so further discounts shouldn't stack.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
And a house rule. Under the standard rules you should never use the Alternate Abilities rule from Powers on the Alternate Form advantage. Alternate Form already has a discount built into it, in that you are paying only 90% of the cost for the highest template, so further discounts shouldn't stack.
I've never heard that claim before. Is there a page you can point me to, or does the claim just hang on logic?

Regardless, You'd only be eligible for the discount if both forms obviously come from the same source, and you're either buying a lot of them or they are quite similar.

As a side note, Alternate form can be VERY powerful when used with multiple templates. You can end up with two completely different characters, and that can wreck havoc on nich protection/ balance. You don't even have to take it multiple times, if you have a high enough total on your base template and its different enough from the other form.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I've never heard that claim before. Is there a page you can point me to, or does the claim just hang on logic?
The Alternate Form advantage itself states you must pay 15 points for each additional form. An optional rule from Powers isn't going to override the default pricing scheme of an advantage.

Also, since Alternate Forms are never meant to be used at the same time as one another it seems very odd to even suggest that you can take a limitation that, in part, gives a price discount because you cannot use more than one at the same time. This is a built in limitation of the Alternate Form advantage and is already discounted in the pricing of Alternate Forms since you only pay for the single most expensive form.

Burning Attack (Fire Ball) and Flight (w/ Flame Jets) make some sense as alternative abilities, because you are using your fire manipulation abilities to do two separate things and you are giving them a limitation that you can't do both at the same time. Effectively you have one ability which you can manipulate to do two (or more) different effects, each of which is modeled as a separate Advantage in GURPS.

Alternate Form (Wolf) and Alternate Form (Great Eagle) just don't make sense on the same level, because you can never be a Wolf and an Eagle at the same time. See a Kromm Quote on it here and one by PK here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by p. B84, Alternate Form
If you have multiple forms, pay full cost for the most expensive form. The less powerful Alternate Forms cost a flat 15 points apiece.
That is, the pricing is [15] for the most expensive form, plus 90% of the Template's cost, and an additional [15] point for each additional form.
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Note: Yes, these are simplified, of course. And the value for teeth may be off, and there is no attribute change. But this is just a demonstration.
I was going to say...

There is no "Teeth" advantage. Sharp Teeth or a Sharp Beak cost [1] point while huge Smilodon fangs (for a "sabrewulf" in this case) costs [2].

Blunt claws, which a wolf or wolfman probably should have, cost [3]. I've seen at least one werewolf who had what was either Long Talons or a pair of Cutting/Impaling Strikers (and could still use a gun...something his human form couldn't do).
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

By the way, if you are looking for a realistic Tiger template (or almost any other animal), GURPS animalia has them:

http://panoptesv.com/RPGs/animalia/animalia.html
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
See a Kromm Quote on it here and one by PK here.
As an aside, I use the alternate version suggested by Kromm and PK in those links for games that I run. The reason why, as a GM, I've chosen that houserule is because the "standard" ruling rewards a player who takes a bunch of similar-point-value alternate forms, while punishing a player who takes forms with a wide range of point values, or even worse, one form worth many more points than all the others.

If you have someone who can turn into a SM +2 dire-saber-tooth-tiger-man (with the ability to speak with a lisp, fully working hands, the ability to walk upright or run on all fours, great strength, ferocious claws, etc - best of all options), and a mini SM -4 saber-tooth-tiger-man (almost exactly the same template, slightly less ST to make the point costs nearly identical), he pays the same as someone else who's second form is a bright blue saber-toothed-housecat (SM-4, no hands, can't talk, ST 4, still totally can't pass for a real cat).

Both have the same big rawr-I-smash form, both have a small form for sneaking around, fitting through little holes, and so forth. The first guys small form is just better. But there's the same point cost for both of them.

That annoys the crap out of me.
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Old 08-27-2015, 09:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Human shape shifter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
If you have someone who can turn into a SM +2 dire-saber-tooth-tiger-man (with the ability to speak with a lisp, fully working hands, the ability to walk upright or run on all fours, great strength, ferocious claws, etc - best of all options)
I will take a look at the links you provided. thanks

This is something that I envision - maybe a dialed down Sabretooth like character that can change form when angry, so a blend of the Hulk and Sabretooth.

I am still not getting the point cost structure - I am using a 100CP game designed around the Traveller templates, but maybe pushing 150CP.

I would really appreciate if someone can give me an rough example, since I'm just not getting the point cost figures?
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