Author Topic: And baby makes three...  (Read 1301 times)

SwampFox

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And baby makes three...
« on: (21:28:43/01-12-17) »
Okay, so before I get into the meat of this, I'd like to request constructive suggestions only please.

A recently uncovered plot hook in our campaign is that Allie, a human-raised wolf shapeshifter in the team, wants kids eventually.  Her boyfriend/mate is Balthazar Black, a human high-functioning sociopath Black Mage whose player has confirmed out of play that if Allie were to die, it's pretty much guaranteed that Balthazar would go full toxic and begin absolutely decimating whatever faction was ultimately responsible for her death.  And he wants to grant Allie's wish.

Now while adoption is of course on the table, Balthazar is nothing if not bull-headed.  So he's approached a contact, a Doc that operates a Delta clinic, about the possibility of somehow figuring out how to give Allie a child that's actually theirs.  Of course since Shapechange doesn't affect chromosome count (otherwise you'd be able to simply use Shapechang to dodge ritual magic due to the full-on genetic shift once you changed back) he can't just turn into a wolf and do the natural thing.  The Doc promised to at least look into it, as while conventional medicine says it's not possible, conventional medicine also said that it wasn't possible to manipulate the Matrix through sheer mental power either thirty years ago.

So, my thought is that there are enough legends out there of shapeshifters having children with normal humans, that there may be a grain of truth buried in there somewhere.  And there have to have been some fringe scientists and researchers that would have pursued the idea.  As well as the possibility that some Megas may have investigated as ways to produce their own groups of company-loyal shapeshifters for use in their military forces or black bag operations.  The biggest two possiblilties for doing this to my mind are MCT and Aztechnology, both of whom have a blatant disregard for sapient suffering head and shoulders above the other Megas, and are heavily involved in magical research.  Other options include Sauder-Krup, or possibly some lore that Ghostwalker (aka Dollmaker) has kept hold of.

What I'm looking for are viable research lines that Mouse (the Doc contact) may find crumbs of, that could lead the team to places where the research would be held (and possibly other stuff for the rest of the team to make a profit off of in the bargain).  I'd prefer for on-going experiments and tests rather than simply having it be mothballed in a server somewhere; though getting older research to help Mouse connect the dots is most definitely in the cards.

The final culmination I'm envisioning for all of this is (Matt, Lindsey, please don't read this if you're on here)
[spoiler]It's possible to use genetic recombination in conjunction with constant exposure to heightened mana levels (possibly aspected towards the Mega's preference to influence the developing shifter) to create viable embryos that can be either grown in an artificial womb (what the Megas are doing) or implanted into the original egg donor or another compatible shifter to come to term naturally (they can't use surrogate metahuman mothers because of the nature of the embryo, the surrogate's body will reject it, and there simply aren't enough shapeshifters to use as surrogates either).  The mother would need to stay in one form or the other for the duration of the pregnancy in order to minimize stress on the fetus.[/spoiler]

Any feedback, suggestions or constructive commentary would be very much welcomed.
« Last Edit: (22:00:52/01-12-17) by SwampFox »

Reaver

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #1 on: (23:33:36/01-12-17) »
If you are looking for canon, There is none.

This is covered on page 99 of Run Faster, under the Shape shifter description in the very first paragraph.


you would have to go WAY off canon to get what you want.
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Kiirnodel

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #2 on: (04:39:30/01-13-17) »
Maybe I'm off-base here. But is there a particular reason they couldn't simply find a donor wolf to impregnate Allie? I know the goal would be to somehow have kid(s) that are actually their own (Allie + Balthazar), but we are talking about someone that is genetically a wolf, not human.

And really, it isn't so weird of a concept in the first place. For two humans, the same sort of thing would happen if a fertility clinic found that the man was infertile/unable to father a child. Like you said, adoption would be an option, but they might also choose to find a donor "father" and still have the woman be the true/genetic mother.


Then again, you might have meant that they want to have a human child...
That might be a bit more difficult. Although they might be able to do a similar thing. Get a donor egg and have Allie act as surrogate. I could see complications, but if she stays shifted in metahuman form the whole time, biologically speaking it should work. That part might require a bit of magical trickery to keep Allie's body from rejecting the ovum.

Reaver

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #3 on: (05:00:19/01-13-17) »
Sadly, she can't stay in meta-human form the entire time... she has to sleep sometime and its the wolf form that is the natural, default state for Allie, Thus what she reverts back to when unconscious....

Like I said, by Canon, there is no way this is going to happen. You are talking to completely different species with different maturation, nutritional, hormonal, genetic, requirements and rates of growth.

By Canon, Allie is a Canine, and can breed with other canines to produce a litter of pups (not a singular child), of which, they will all be canines, with a very remote chance of one of them being awakened and a shifter as well.

Awakened genes do not breed true. Meaning even 2 awakened parents do not guarantee an awakened offspring! If this was true, the Corps would have enforced breeding programs to pop out an army of awakened Corp owned kiddies. Not that they haven't tried this trick - both Aztech and Mitsuhama had awakened breeding programs in the 2050s, which were utter failures. In fact, after 60 years of genetic research no Corp has ever indentified the genetic markers or code for magic, and they have had A LOT of samples to look at (As many awakened are required by law to submit a genetic sample!).

If you don't care about Canon, Do whatever you want to tell your story, its your game!
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Kiirnodel

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #4 on: (05:11:32/01-13-17) »
A quote from the shift power: "Once the critter uses the shift power, it remains in its current form until it decides to shift back."

At least at my table, we ruled that it meant that Shifters don't revert back to their natural form when they fall unconscious (they do when they die, but that's a morbid tale for another day). I actually had an interesting time with that while playing my own Shifter. My GM would roll to see if she would "decide" to shift back in her sleep. This was particularly interesting, as her lover didn't know she was a shifter! She tried to avoid falling asleep when she stayed over just to be sure.

Reaver

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #5 on: (05:34:59/01-13-17) »
A quote from the shift power: "Once the critter uses the shift power, it remains in its current form until it decides to shift back."

At least at my table, we ruled that it meant that Shifters don't revert back to their natural form when they fall unconscious (they do when they die, but that's a morbid tale for another day). I actually had an interesting time with that while playing my own Shifter. My GM would roll to see if she would "decide" to shift back in her sleep. This was particularly interesting, as her lover didn't know she was a shifter! She tried to avoid falling asleep when she stayed over just to be sure.

Interesting, That is not the way I have seen it in the fluff, or  by any GMs I have played with. It's always been ruled that a loss of consciousness (or magic for background counts) results in a shifter reverting to their natural state, as it takes an act of Will to maintain the "Alien" form - as it is a sustained ability. (Although they do not gain the -2DP for doing so) . But its your table, do as you will. 

Quote
it remains in its current form
until it decides to shift back. The critter does not suffer a 2
penalty for sustaining this power.
« Last Edit: (05:50:33/01-13-17) by Reaver »
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Kiirnodel

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #6 on: (08:01:09/01-13-17) »
Shift isn't a Sustained duration power. Which is why the specify that they don't change back until they choose to. And also likely why they reiterate the idea that they don't take any sort of "sustaining" penalty. Just for clarity.

I'm not familiar with much fluff that includes Shifters. Can you point me to a story that mentions a Shifter falling unconscious?

EDIT: Oh, but I am familiar with the rule that Background causes the reversion. But that stems from previous rules editions where Background directly reduced Magic Rating. If you Magic (actual or effective) hits 0 you lose all powers, which would include Shift, effectively removing the change (involuntarily). That no longer seems to be the case in 5e, though, since Background no longer reduces the Magic attribute. Shifters just always suffer from Background Count penalties (arguably a worse fate).

I went ahead and looked it up from 4th edition also. The wording is nearly identical, and (to me) it doesn't seem to imply that maintaining the Shift requires any sort of effort. More that the act of Shifting is the only time effort is exerted, and that maintaining the current form is "automatic" as it takes the shifter's decision to shift back.
« Last Edit: (08:28:16/01-13-17) by Kiirnodel »

farothel

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #7 on: (08:03:42/01-13-17) »
What I would do is to see with the other players (not playing Allie or Black) have a problem with making this the focus of at least part of the campaign.  If they do (and as player I would love something like this, although my character might need more convincing) you can create a campaign out of it.  Something like the 4th Edition Artifacts campaign, but the object here is something which makes what you want possible.

An object you might want to read up on is something from Kim Harrison's Hollows series.  In those books (which I recommend as I think they are very good) there are werewolves, but they can't make more of themselves by biting humans (like in many legends), only by breeding.  In some of the books there is an object (called the Focus), which is a cursed demon artifact which allows werewolves to be created by bite.

Make a similar object which allows a shapeshifter and a human to have babies (which would be a half-breed, who looks a bit like SURGEd individuals but no sense in telling your players that up front) .  Start by having your doctor (or someone else) find some obscure reference about this (maybe have your runners find out while doing a run in secure library of someone who can have something like this), dating back to the 4th World maybe.  Seeing the importance of this for their companions, they start looking for more information.  As word of this starts spreading (they will have to ask contacts questions about some things), corporations starts to become interested for reasons mentioned in this topic and they also start checking this out.  From there you can make it a rat race to the object with multiple people wanting it for their own purposes.

As another twist, maybe this object is something which made Drakes possible (dragon-human hybrids) and the great dragons have their own reason to have this thing.  That way you can bring the really big power players into it as well, should you wish to do so. :P
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Reaver

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #8 on: (09:05:00/01-13-17) »
Shift isn't a Sustained duration power. Which is why the specify that they don't change back until they choose to. And also likely why they reiterate the idea that they don't take any sort of "sustaining" penalty. Just for clarity.

I'm not familiar with much fluff that includes Shifters. Can you point me to a story that mentions a Shifter falling unconscious?

EDIT: Oh, but I am familiar with the rule that Background causes the reversion. But that stems from previous rules editions where Background directly reduced Magic Rating. If you Magic (actual or effective) hits 0 you lose all powers, which would include Shift, effectively removing the change (involuntarily). That no longer seems to be the case in 5e, though, since Background no longer reduces the Magic attribute. Shifters just always suffer from Background Count penalties (arguably a worse fate).

I went ahead and looked it up from 4th edition also. The wording is nearly identical, and (to me) it doesn't seem to imply that maintaining the Shift requires any sort of effort. More that the act of Shifting is the only time effort is exerted, and that maintaining the current form is "automatic" as it takes the shifter's decision to shift back.

like I said, First I have EVER heard of an At Will infinite Power in SR. Ever. And this is definitely not the way I have seen any table run it, but you are free to do as you wish.

Sadly there is only one story with a Shifter in it that is related to 5e, and that was a novel by Crimsondude (Can't remember the name off hand). Other then that, most of my sources go back several editions, which makes this the first edition that a shifter can stay in their human form infinitely and even though unconsciousness (by you understanding). There is a short fluff piece in 2e Neo A guidebook of Kane knocking out and then repeatedly skinned a tiger shifter - which by your reading is impossible. There is the 3e fluff piece of a drawn out combat by Hard Exit(?) who finally Knocks out the enemy, only to have it revert to a wolf form....

So like I said, the Fluff up to this edition doesn't support that reading at all.
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Kiirnodel

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #9 on: (14:44:03/01-13-17) »
So nothing from the last two editions, when a lot of setting material regarding magic started to change bit by bit. Personally, I started playing pretty much in 4th, so I don't really have the background of the era where grounding was a thing and such.

Looking specifically at the power description, what other reason would the shift power be written to have "special" duration rather than sustained? It's a Critter power, so they already don't take a sustaining penalty.

SwampFox

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #10 on: (18:24:13/01-13-17) »
Reaver, while I acknowledge your points, you kind of ignored what I said about constructive commentary.  All I'm really getting from you (and I apologize if this isn't the case) is "this isn't possible because the fluff leading up to it says it can't be done."  We're very flexible on the fluff at our table.  What I'm looking for isn't "yeah, that's viable" I'm looking for ideas for runs to find the type of information that could be melded together from different sources to create a believable leadup to the solution I provided in the spoilers.  In regards to her staying in one form or another, we've generally read the power as Kiirnodel has outlined it, in that Allie has complete control over her shifting and does not revert while she sleeps.

Kiirnodel, we pass the GM hat around to avoid burnout, rotating on a weekly basis (we play every Sunday, looooong sessions too) so this would be something that would be woven between the plotlines and runs that the others are bringing to the table.  The other player at the table is also on board and has given me some input and suggestions for different types of experiments and labs that could conceivably be following lines of research that would benefit the final goal. 

And yes, they're specifically looking into some way to have a human and/or shifter child.  Balthazar is incredibly possessive of Allie, so finding a male wolf sperm donor doesn't appeal to him at all.  His player has actually confirmed that Balthazar is so dedicated to getting Allie what she wants that he'd start taking stupid risks in order to die and free up Allie to move on and have pups with a compatible mate.  Of course the team would be doing their best to ensure that he doesn't kack it, meaning any such risk-taking would put Allie and the rest of us at risk.

Dwagonzhan

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #11 on: (19:14:32/01-13-17) »
The only way it works is via plot fiat. Magic in Shadowrun has been ambiguous and even contradictory in a couple of points.
But one place it hasn't been ambiguous is the nature of Shapeshifters.

Going by lore, the closest instance I can think of creating a viable abomination-hybrid was Aine Dupree and Yrsgrathe (a literal HORROR) conceiving Thais; and that's Earthdawn lore. (both Aine and Thais exist in Shadowrun).

Second closest would be Aardelea and the creation of Bred-Drakes (who are as human as they are dracoform in both biology and spirituality), but the information surrounding that is iffy at best, due to FASA dropping Earthdawn just as they were starting to write the lore.

If going for an Aardelea style "freak-fusion", you'd be looking at taking a human child, conjuring a shapeshifter's spirit and having it inhabit the kid; similar to how an Insect Spirit inhabits a victim.
By lore, this is far more likely to produce a tortured abomination as it is a healthy hybrid, but it's an idea, I suppose.

Just something your group will have to work out at your table.
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Reaver

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #12 on: (19:21:26/01-13-17) »
Like I originally said, by the canon, it can't happen.

If you don't care about canon, then fly at it any way you choose....

But saying "help me do this non-canon thing in a canon way" just doesn't work Swampfox. Either you are following canon (so it can't be done) or you're not - in which case go about it any way you choose as there is no help for you by the rules.
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SwampFox

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #13 on: (19:35:36/01-13-17) »
Reaver, I think you missed the entire point.  I'm not asking for rules help, I'm asking for run seeds for likely places for the team to find the kind of information they'll need.  It's not about "is this canon" it's about "does this make sense within the framework that has been presented".

farothel

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Re: And baby makes three...
« Reply #14 on: (05:06:35/01-14-17) »
Reaver, I think you missed the entire point.  I'm not asking for rules help, I'm asking for run seeds for likely places for the team to find the kind of information they'll need.  It's not about "is this canon" it's about "does this make sense within the framework that has been presented".

I would do it via an artifact, as I've outlined above.  Maybe even have it only work in a place aspected to the artifact (your choice as to what aspect you want, but suggestions are animal, health and fertility of course).
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