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Author Topic: "[critter] form", questions  (Read 10560 times)

hemgath

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"[critter] form", questions
« on: (07:46:39/03-01-11) »
Certainly one of the most abusive spell since the FAQ say :

Can you take Human Form as a version of the (Critter) Form spell? What about Troll Form?
Yes, since humans are, strictly speaking, non-paranormal animals. Metahumans and metavariants are paranormal, so Troll Form, Nartaki Form, etc. are not viable versions of the (Critter) Form spell.

So, if you cast this spell on you, you can incredibely up your physicall skill, same in an easiest way than the particulary powerfull « increase [atribute] ».

For exemple, Juan-Dylan the magician with 6 magic and 6 spellcasting (spe Manip) cast the spell (Critter) form « human »… With power foci, totem and somme extragift, we can considere he cast this spell with a total of 17 dices.

His physical stat are : Body : 3, Ag : 2, Reac : 5 and str : 1 (is drain stat are 6/6)
Juan Dylan decide to cast the spell at 5 and it succeed… (take some drain…).
And now can sustain it with a focci… or decide to had a -2 dice…

So now is physical stat are :
- BODY : 3+5= 8
- AGI : 2+5= 7
- REAC : 5+5=10 *
- STR : 1+5 : 6

Wowww !!!!

1/ i think not, but, Since this is not specified, can you exceed human maximum augmented attribute (9) ? If yes, directly use edge to cast the spell ;)
* so in this case REAC=9

2/like it says in the spell rules : under critter form, you can’t make action that require speech, even  if ou are under an « human » form ?

3/Action require speech include simply speacking ?

4/ being able to transform itself into a human, is he not completely abused?

Thx for advice, lightning and answer ;)
« Last Edit: (08:57:03/03-01-11) by hemgath »

FastJack

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #1 on: (08:29:13/03-01-11) »
Well, first off, I don't like it. But, it is possible to do. :P

First off, you'd have to go by the Critter's base stats. That would mean average Physical attributes (all three's), NOT the magician's attributes. So, in your example, he'd wind up with 8's across the board. (Again, don't like this...)

1) Cannot go above augmented max for a Human. 9 is your limit.
2) I'd enforce this. If you're going to break a spell, then accept a limitation that you won't be able to talk.
3) No speaking at all. You do retain the ability to cast (per the spell's rules).
4) It sounds like it...

Here's how I picture it. If you cast Human Form, then you're reshaping your body into what you think the ultimate bad-ass combatant you can envision (Bruce Lee, Mr. T, Chuck Norris, Argent). However, doing so "warps" your vocal chords, preventing you from being able to communicate.

Some other things to consider when thinking about this:

A) You still don't have the skills to back up your new body. You are relying on your regular skills/defaults to perform the tasks. Sure, you might *look* and move like your hero, but you'll still have trouble throwing a punch like them.
B) Drain's cheaper on using Improved [Attribute] AND it goes off YOUR abilities. You might not get all 8's, but in your example, you'd get the Reaction 9. Of course, you're maintaining four spells instead of one, but still...

raggedhalo

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #2 on: (08:53:41/03-01-11) »
I'd also rule that you can't use Human Form if you are already human...
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hemgath

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #3 on: (09:13:30/03-01-11) »
Thx for this answers

Well, first off, I don't like it. But, it is possible to do.
;), like say in other game:
"that's pok..." hmm sorry, "that's rules!"

First off, you'd have to go by the Critter's base stats. That would mean average Physical attributes (all three's), NOT the magician's attributes. So, in your example, he'd wind up with 8's across the board. (Again, don't like this...)

Ouppsss... Forget this because i speack about "human" change and not lion or bear ;) But it's right...
So 8 in all stat, cast the spell @ 6 (find a good and sweet focci seller) and you max all your physical attribute ! (or take psyche... ;) )

B) Drain's cheaper on using Improved [Attribute] AND it goes off YOUR abilities. You might not get all 8's, but in your example, you'd get the Reaction 9. Of course, you're maintaining four spells instead of one, but still...
Sure, but generally classic magician don't have his 4 physical stat @3... ;)
And make 4 VD test, even if the drain is lesser, seam to be more dangerous than one only bigger VD test.

Quote
I'd also rule that you can't use Human Form if you are already human...
That an idea, but for exemple the char who use this spell on our table is a Dwarf magician... ;), which does not really change the prob.

skulldier

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #4 on: (16:54:23/03-01-11) »
I wouldn't let a player utilize this, but then, none of my players use magicians.

But, all of a sudden, I have an idea for a psychopath mage that turns himself into a giant mute serial killer. Hmmmm.

Loki

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #5 on: (18:09:46/03-01-11) »
I personally don't see a problem with a human form spell. To get the big stat buffs you will have to have a fat sustaining focus or sustain it yourself, reducing it's efficacy. A big shiny aura and problems with wards also come with these stat bonus'. As your genetics are unchanged by the spell any tissue samples or other biological security info all still matches you. Other than the effect is meaty not illusory, how does this differ from physical mask? Bonus' to physical stats, you're still a mage and likely lack the skills to use them. If you do then you've skimped on other things, far more important to magic types.

As to the loss of speech, well usually critter form turns you into a critter, ie lacking in the vocal chord department. Turning into a human form will not have that drawback IMO.

Charybdis

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #6 on: (18:29:02/03-01-11) »
I have zero problems with using this spell, including:
- A transforming from a human to another human seems perfectly legit
- Maximum attributes should be capped as normal (ie Human = 9)
- Keeping speech. I concur that normally being a critter is the RAI of the rules...but if becoming a human, well, humans can talk.
- Start with basic attributes (Human = 3) plus successes. yep.
- Sustain it all you want. As per any sustained(/quickened) spell, there are balanced complications aligned with having an ongoing active magical effect on your person.

There's an old JP poster (forget the name...Andromorph or something?) who recommends quickening a shapeshift spell to just change gender for a year  :o, so there's a canon history of the spell being utilised to be a variant metahuman (granted, in previous SR versions)

Amusingly, if you're a human mage with a Body of 6, you can't change into another human (± 2 only precludes the attribute of 3 to start with  :P)

Nah, this sounds like fun. Go for it.
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Chaemera

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #7 on: (18:52:18/03-01-11) »
I have a problem with it from a very simple perspective.

If the Combat Mage (pg. 99) casts "Elf Form" on himself and scores an average of 3 hits, then he goes from:

B: 3
A: 4
R: 4
S: 3
C: 4
I: 3
L: 4
W: 4

to:

B: 6
A: 7
R: 6
S: 6
C: 9
I: 6
L: 6
W: 6

And what's his price? -2 DP Modifier, active astral signature. That's a lot nicer than going the game-design route of using Health spells (which would be 8 separate spells for a total -16 DP modifier).

Further, if one wanted to be a stickler for these sorts of things, the shapeshift and [critter] form spells allow you to take the form of a mundane "critter". Neither SR4A nor Running Wild classify or treat metahumans as "critters", and make a point of separating "sapient critters" from "metahumans". They are not, in game terms, equivalent. Ergo, metahumans /= critters and shapeshift/critter form require a mundane critter be the destination form, QED Sapeshift/critter form does not allow a metahuman form to be the end result.

Personally, I'd invent a new spell, [metahuman] form. You take on the traits of that metatype/variant (ie, replace your racial stat adjustments, powers and qualities with those of the destination form) and if you're attempting to mimic a specific person whom you have seen / heard before, your hits on the spellcasting test are added to any subsequent disguise checks to pass yourself off as that person.

This is, IMO, a much more balanced approach to the idea.
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Billy_Club

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #8 on: (19:08:39/03-01-11) »
You can't take any metahuman form other than human with this spell, per the FAQ listed in the OP.  So (Elf) Form is not a viable use for the spell.  According to the wording in the FAQ, Catalyst is lumping humans in as sapient, non-paranormal critters, while other metahumans (Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, etc) are 'other'.  Also keep in mind that mental attributes don't change with either version of the spell.  So using this spell to change into a human sets your physical stats at 3 + hits and leaves your spellcasting stats unchanged.  I don't see anything broken with it.  The drain is 3 worse than Improve (Attribute) which has far nastier applications for a spellcaster while not making your clothing unwearable.  I'd argue that any mage who shapechanges from a body of 3 wearing clothes tailored for someone with a body 3 size who becomes a body 9 size has just done a Hulk and shredded everything they are wearing.  You are tougher and faster now, but are naked, good luck to you sir.

Loki

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #9 on: (19:11:12/03-01-11) »
You are missing a couple important points. Page 211 SR4A "Her Mental attributes remain unchanged." So no mental stats are effected. Also the OP quoted a relevant point from the FAQ "Can you take Human Form as a version of the (Critter) Form spell? What about Troll Form?
Yes, since humans are, strictly speaking, non-paranormal animals. Metahumans and metavariants are paranormal, so Troll Form, Nartaki Form, etc. are not viable versions of the (Critter) Form spell."
Lastly, generally, what bloody good are increased agility and strength to a combat mage?


Charybdis

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #10 on: (19:34:58/03-01-11) »
Lastly, generally, what bloody good are increased agility and strength to a combat mage?
When you start with 2 Reaction.... never underestimate a few extra dice added to Ranged Combat defense tests  :'(
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Chaemera

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #11 on: (21:10:23/03-01-11) »
You are missing a couple important points. Page 211 SR4A "Her Mental attributes remain unchanged." So no mental stats are effected.

Fair enough.

Also the OP quoted a relevant point from the FAQ "Can you take Human Form as a version of the (Critter) Form spell? What about Troll Form?
Yes, since humans are, strictly speaking, non-paranormal animals. Metahumans and metavariants are paranormal, so Troll Form, Nartaki Form, etc. are not viable versions of the (Critter) Form spell."

And the FAQ has never once been wrong, I'm sure. Sorry for the sarcasm, but the number of times the FAQ contradicts the explicit word of the book leads me to disregard the FAQ out of hand. If you want to debate it's merits as rules interpretations, there are numerous threads already in existence which do so.

My challenge still stands, show me one sourcebook which defines any metahuman (human or otherwise) as being a "critter" vice a "mook" or "Prime Runner".

Lastly, generally, what bloody good are increased agility and strength to a combat mage?

This is a single example, not a comprehensive example. If you wish to nit-pick, substitute human adept or mystic adept for combat mage. I'm sure they'd appreciate the AGI/STR. Even so, you get the benefit of two spells for the price of one if you're only interested in BOD and REA.

For the record, Billy, unless you're using the "custom fitted" rules in arsenal, the game generally ignores details like the cut of your clothes. And besides, no one said you couldn't make your "human form" spell turn you into a human of your exact build, just better stats.
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Loki

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #12 on: (21:39:07/03-01-11) »

My challenge still stands, show me one sourcebook which defines any metahuman (human or otherwise) as being a "critter" vice a "mook" or "Prime Runner".


Humans are animals with nifty thumbs and big shiny brains instead of wings, flippers, or improved senses. I don't need a sourcebook for that. But I concede that it does make it a GM's call.



This is a single example, not a comprehensive example. If you wish to nit-pick, substitute human adept or mystic adept for combat mage. I'm sure they'd appreciate the AGI/STR. Even so, you get the benefit of two spells for the price of one if you're only interested in BOD and REA.

.

For many adepts and MAs it will be pretty nifty, unless/untill their bod exceed the +/-2 restriction. Then the spell returns to the land of "useful but not uber".

Billy_Club

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #13 on: (01:59:26/03-02-11) »
For the record, Billy, unless you're using the "custom fitted" rules in arsenal, the game generally ignores details like the cut of your clothes. And besides, no one said you couldn't make your "human form" spell turn you into a human of your exact build, just better stats.

Under that logic, the advanced ranged combat modifiers at the back of Arsenal for different sizes based on the Body attribute makes no sense.  And it's in print in a sourcebook.  Granted they are optional rules if you find that they slow your game down, but the application is still there.  For game purposes, it seems like the designers intend for Body to at least abstractly represent size even though they specifically say it doesn't in SR4A.

As far as the (Critter) Form spell and FAQ are concerned, if you read the text of the spell, it says:

Pg. 211 SR4A

Quote
Critter form works like the Shapechange spell, but only allows the
subject to change into a specific non-paranormal animal. Each critter
form is a different spell (Eagle Form, Wolf Form, and so on).

The FAQ states that humans count as a non-paranormal animal, which is definitely included in the description of the spell.  They likely restricted the choice to human, vs. other metahuman types to avoid the stat trickery you pointed out in your example.  And the spell may indeed be better for certain specific applications, but so what?  Are you implying that all spells in the book should be interpreted in such a way that they are balanced with other similar spells?  Because that certainly isn't the case.  Even without the FAQ, you could legally transform yourself into a human just based on the wording though I would have thought other metas were included before the FAQ spelled it out.  If human is the only option, I don't think there's anything wrong with that spell at all.  Also, since the OP was a discussion specifically about the FAQ and its representation of this spell, why are you telling people not to discuss it here?

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Re: "[critter] form", questions
« Reply #14 on: (06:04:42/03-02-11) »
Critter Form is a limited version of Shapechange, and as such, has the same limitations.

Specifically:

Quote from:  SR4A, pg 211
Shapechange transforms a voluntary subject into a normal (non-paranormal) critter, though the subject retains human consciousness.

Quote from:  SR4A, pg 292
Critters refer in general to all non-human creatures

This is another example of the FAQ not following the RAW of the source books. If the RAI was for Critter Form to allow for a "human form" spell, then the book needs an errata to that effect, not an FAQ.

For the record, Billy, unless you're using the "custom fitted" rules in arsenal, the game generally ignores details like the cut of your clothes. And besides, no one said you couldn't make your "human form" spell turn you into a human of your exact build, just better stats.

Under that logic, the advanced ranged combat modifiers at the back of Arsenal for different sizes based on the Body attribute makes no sense.  And it's in print in a sourcebook.  Granted they are optional rules if you find that they slow your game down, but the application is still there.  For game purposes, it seems like the designers intend for Body to at least abstractly represent size even though they specifically say it doesn't in SR4A.

The modifiers in the back of Arsenal have to do with abstraction of body size with regards to ease of hitting a target. They do not then apply the modifiers to whether or not clothing fits between characters. This is handled explicitly by the optional "custom fitted armor" rules at the front of Arsenal, and still is unrelated to Body score. If you want to impose a house rule that establishes "small, medium, large, XL, Troll" clothing sizes, you're welcome to do so & it might even be a good idea. But, it's not, at present, a part of the RAW as far as I can read.

With regards to telling people not to discuss the FAQ, I chose my words poorly. My intention was to avoid a thread derail by discussing, generally, whether or not the FAQ should be treated as RAW. As to the specifics of any thread asking about a specific point of the FAQ & the game impact, I approach it as follows:
(1) The FAQ is a clarification, it is not RAW.
(2) Where the FAQ can be shown to contradict RAW, the FAQ should be disregarded.

In this instance, I have specifically shown that Shapechange (and, subsequently, Critter Form and is, in fact named "critter" form, not "animal" form) is limited to "critters" and that "critter" is specifically defined as a non-human creature. Therefore, the FAQ explicitly contradicts the RAW as shown above and previously. As such, it is my opinion (and my response to the OP) that the FAQ should be disregarded as far as the (Critter) Form spell is concerned.
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