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Old 07-14-2016, 10:42 PM   #1
Tuk the Weekah
 
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Default Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

So, I'm building, for the first time in GURPS, a shape-shifter. He goes from human form to a Spirit Bear form (which is much less impressive than it sounds; a Spirit Bear is ursus americanus kermodei, or a white/blond subspecies of black bear). I'm having issues costing out the Shapeshifting aspect of the character.

Quote:
If you have a single Alternate Form, it costs 15 points for a racial template worth no more than your native racial template. A more powerful form costs 15 points plus 90% of the difference in cost between your native template and that of your Alternate Form.
Structurally, this says that you are paying 15 CP + 90% of the difference in cost between your base racial template and the base racial template of your Alternate Form. The required changes to the base template (your IQ of 13--IQ+3--raises the bear's IQ from 4 to 7, for instance), the additional skills that are carried over from your primary form, all your advantages & disads that port over; none of that, it is implied, counts toward the cost of the Alternate Form. You are paying from going from a human to a bear; not for going from this human to this bear.

Yet this is not the build that I have ever seen. Basically, the Alternate Form builds I've seen go from a human to this bear.

What is the correct way to cost this out?
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

Well, you're replacing your 0 point Human template with an X point Bear template, so when you turn into a bear, you keep everything about your character and lose nothing, except as the template specifies. So if bears have 4 IQ listed, what they really have is -6 IQ, so you lose 6 IQ when you turn into a bear. If you want to turn into a smarter bear, make a "smarter bear" template that has 7 (aka -3) IQ.

Does that clear it up? I can help more with more examples, I think.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:41 PM   #3
Tuk the Weekah
 
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

Quote:
Originally Posted by McAllister View Post
Well, you're replacing your 0 point Human template with an X point Bear template, so when you turn into a bear, you keep everything about your character and lose nothing, except as the template specifies. So if bears have 4 IQ listed, what they really have is -6 IQ, so you lose 6 IQ when you turn into a bear. If you want to turn into a smarter bear, make a "smarter bear" template that has 7 (aka -3) IQ.

Does that clear it up? I can help more with more examples, I think.
Well, the example was just another way of saying what I said above:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuk the Weekah View Post
your IQ of 13--IQ+3--raises the bear's IQ from 4 to 7, for instance
I get that. What I'm not getting is whether the required cost of raising the bear's IQ from 4 to 7 needs to be worked into the AF cost. From my reading of the advantage in Basic, it does not. From the builds I have seen, it does. Am I paying for changing the template (in which only the base costs are included when calculating the cost) or the finished CP cost of the PC bear? Using the GURPS Animalia template, a male black bear is about 45 CP*. Am I paying (15+(45x.9))=55 points for the transformation?

*There is an interesting house rule on ST cost being at -20%.

Last edited by Tuk the Weekah; 07-14-2016 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 07-15-2016, 01:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

If your IQ 13 human then your template is IQ 10 and you have a personal +3 IQ that carries over to the bear at no additional cost.
So if the normal IQ of a bear is 4 then you as a bear are IQ 7.
You could buy off the template penalty to IQ and most mental disads if you choose to have a more expensive form.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

Basically, you keep any personal traits but swap out any raciqal template traits when you make the transition. If you are playing a Human (racial IQ+0) and have purchased IQ 13 as a personal trait, then when you become a IQ-6 bear you become an IQ13-6=7 bear. If you are playing an Elf (IQ+2) and have the same IQ13 as a personal trait, then when you change into a bear you lose the IQ+2, giving you a base IQ11, then subtract 6 from it to get an IQ5 bear.

If you want to maintain IQ13 while in bear for you would need to buy enough extra IQ for the bear racial template for your final score to be 13. This would be +6 IQ for the human, but +8 IQ for the elf since he needs to not only buy off the bear's negative IQ but also the extra +2 IQ he's losing when the Elf racial template is removed.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

You are permitted to buy up an animal's IQ to match your own. This increases the cost of AF, as would buying up the ST of a cat or dog to match your own.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuk the Weekah View Post
Yet this is not the build that I have ever seen. Basically, the Alternate Form builds I've seen go from a human to this bear.
They tend to be built for [em]this[/em] human to [em]this[/em] bear actually, because that's what you want the character sheets for.

There isn't really any difference, it's just that the template for "bear with your IQ" isn't the same one as somebody with a different IQ would have, that is, it's technically not the template of a specific kind of bear, but of a unique species the GM has allowed to exist to make the advantage do what you wanted it to. If it is somehow really important to the setting that you can only turn into a species that actually exists, then you can't have an animal form that keeps your IQ, unless you start with the same IQ as an average animal.

Really though Alternate Forms are worded like this in an attempt to control abuse. It should be clear that allowing you to swap characters entirely for 15 points as long as they are of equal or lesser total value, which is what the rule comes down to if you allow anything to be in the form template, is not fair to players who are stuck with just what's on one character sheet. Consider doing that with Modular Abilities, even as Alternate Attacks it's a better bargain if your point total is 90 points or more, even leaving aside changing out your *disadvantages* too. Requiring forms to be a racial template, and hence theoretically GM design only, is a (not overly successful) effort to curb that. As long as the GM feels a build isn't abusive, allowing it no matter what the rule says is fine.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

Quote:
Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
They tend to be built for [em]this[/em] human to [em]this[/em] bear actually, because that's what you want the character sheets for.

There isn't really any difference, it's just that the template for "bear with your IQ" isn't the same one as somebody with a different IQ would have, that is, it's technically not the template of a specific kind of bear, but of a unique species the GM has allowed to exist to make the advantage do what you wanted it to. If it is somehow really important to the setting that you can only turn into a species that actually exists, then you can't have an animal form that keeps your IQ, unless you start with the same IQ as an average animal.
By the rules, if you're smarter than the average human, you'll be smarter than the average bear by the same margin--you're replacing the IQ 10 human template with the IQ 4 bear template, and any IQ you bought stays.

It's very often that you see a new template for "bear form" that has IQ 10 as the base, and lacks mental traits like Bestial, so that the shapeshifter keeps his mind.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

When I do this with my players I sit down with them and with my supervision describe the animal they're turning into.

I literally just made this so I'll use it as an example.
We end up with a bear
St 18
Dx 15
Iq 4
Ht 15

And typical animal advantages and disadvantages.

Total cost 127
Now note that IQ 4 is a taboo trait.
It's not a disadvantage for a bear to be iq 4
Its a bear. So the player does not get
120 free points.

The player is an elf, my template cost for elves is 72 points.


(127-72)x.90 =49.5
I round down
So book your bear costs 15 + 49 points
Oh, you wanna modify this to make it cheaper?
K..
Costs fatigue -10%
Reduced time +40%
Takes recharge -30%

On the 15 point part only...

Which leaves us with 15 points still

64 point advantage total


And thats basically how it works
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Simple Question, probably repetitive, on Alternate Form

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
By the rules, if you're smarter than the average human, you'll be smarter than the average bear by the same margin--you're replacing the IQ 10 human template with the IQ 4 bear template, and any IQ you bought stays.

It's very often that you see a new template for "bear form" that has IQ 10 as the base, and lacks mental traits like Bestial, so that the shapeshifter keeps his mind.
It's also to avoid the silliness of a slow or weak human turning into an animal with a negative IQ or St.
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