Please help Rusty (shapechanging adept)

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« on: <02-16-16/1146:29> »
I’ve been spinning my wheels on a character for a PbP game, and am hoping that the kind people here can help me make this work better. 

Opening statement:  I have a character concept in mind, and I readily admit that sticking to this concept will not make an optimum build—but I will stick to the core concept.  Non-optimum is OK -- the game I’m joining is heavily story driven (karma and nuyen are earned based on useful IC posting), so to me key is a character that I can write a lot about.  That said, within the concept I’d like to structure him as effectively as possible, and this is where I’m struggling.  As in: cool character to write about, but worried that he may struggle to be useful in an actual run.

The character is an adept with Adept Spell (Shapechange).  Background is that he has spent the last who-know-how-long as a stray dog wandering the streets of Seattle, but recently had that spell dispelled, returning him to human form – but without any real memories of being human (4 point amnesia negative quality).  Most of his skills reflect his time in animal form, although some carry over from whatever he was in a former life.  (I like the dog bit, but could maybe be persuaded that a different animal would be better).  He has empathic healing (adept power) along with the uncanny healer and ‘Pie Lesu Domine, Dona Eis Requiem’ (the self-flagellation negative quality) qualities and a major contact who runs a low end medical clinic.  He starts his day by soaking up some damage from the patients there, but generally heals up overnight. Those nights, btw, being generally spent sleeping in the streets in animal form—or most recently in his car, after he got persuaded to borrow money from a loan shark to build up his human identity (fake ID and the cheapest 2 seater on the market)  i.e. He has the Hobo with a Shotgun and In Debt negative qualities.

Intent is that he can scout out locations in animal form, and even evesdrop (quite literally).  So being able to turn into small, innocuous, things is good (squirrel seems like a good infiltration form).  Which would imply body 3, so he can turn into body 1 creatures.  However the really useful fighting forms from the main book (wolf, great cat) are body 6 – if he wanted to look at being a dangerous combatant as an animal, he’d want body 4 (great cat has strength 5, and DV strength+3/AP -1.  Sustaining a force three shapechange he’d have the potential to boost strength to 8 and have DV 11 …. But would sacrifice being a squirrel, rat, etc.  I think the lack of armor in critter form means that planning to fight in that form is a bad idea, so it is better to plan on the small critters as his main use of that spell (if I went the combatant route, might look at Bear mentor spirit for the 2 extra soak dice, and would want to invest in mystic armor adept power)

So, core to the character:
-   Adept, with 1pp in adept spell, 0.5pp in empathic healing, and ~1.5pp in enhanced senses (animal like senses even when in human form)
-   Qualities:
    -        Focused concentration 3, to sustain the shapechange spell even in mild background counts (2 or less)
    -       Other qualities mentioned above: uncanny healer, amnesia (surface), Pie Lesu … (the self-flagellation quality), Hobo with a Shotgun, in debt
    -       Additional qualities that I was planning on to represent the animal nature, but not 100% fixed on having all of them: hawk eye, animal empathy, sense of direction
    -       Mentor spirits are great …. But having a mentor that is one animal, when he’s looking at being all sorts of animals, feels a little odd.
-   Skills to represent animal prowess (in more than one form).  Athletics skill group, perception, stealth, survival, unarmed combat.  Would love to have a few points in the exotic skill of flying, to be able to make simple flights in bird form
-   Like to haves: astral perception and reasonable ability to fight spirits.

I’ve done a full build, but am not convinced that I’ve come up with the most useful way of building him.  I was assuming a fair amount of in-game karma would be coming in, so I focused on things that are cheaper at character creation, leaving most lower skills to pick up later.  You can look at it if you want, but really I’m looking at thoughts on ways to approach the build more than the details of moving two karma, although I’ll gratefully accept any tips that anyone has.  (one last thing: allowed to go over 25 points of positive and negative qualities, but should expect the negative qualities to be used in game so be ready for the consequences).

== Info ==
Street Name: Rusty
Nuyen: 2740 (i.e. not all spent yet)
Karma: 1 left as of this build
== Sum-to-Ten ==
Metatype: E(0) - Human
Attributes: A(4) - 24 Attributes
Special: B(3) - Adept
Skills: B(3) - 36 Skills/5 Skill Groups
Resources: E(0) - 6,000¥
== Attributes ==
BOD: 3
AGI: 5
REA: 5 (6)
STR: 3
CHA: 4
INT: 6
LOG: 2
WIL: 5
EDG: 3
MAG: 6
== Derived Attributes ==
Essence: 6
Initiative: 11 (12) + 2d6
Physical Damage Track: 10
Stun Damage Track: 11
== Limits ==
Physical: 5
Mental: 5
Social: 7
Astral: 7
== Active Skills ==
Animal Handling : 2 [Dogs] Pool: 6 (8)
Assensing : 2 [Aura Reading] Pool: 8 (10)
Etiquette : 2 Pool: 6
Gymnastics : 5 Pool: 10 (athletics group 5)
Perception : 6 Pool: 12
Pistols : 6 Pool: 11
Running : 5 Pool: 8 (athletics group 5)
Sneaking : 6 Pool: 11
Spellcasting : 1 [Manipulation] Pool: 7 (9)
Survival : 3 [Urban] Pool: 8 (10)
Swimming : 5 Pool: 8 (athletics group 5)
Tracking : 1 [Urban] Pool: 9 (11)
Unarmed Combat : 6 Pool: 11
== Knowledge Skills ==
== Contacts ==
Drox (troll); Puyallup barrens; Street Doc (C2, L5)
5 contact points left -- probably a C4/L1 dealer or fixer.
== Qualities ==
Amnesia (Surface Loss)
Animal Empathy
Focused Concentration 3
Hawk Eye
High Pain Tolerance (Rating 1) (comes for 'free' with Pie Lese .....)
Hobo with a Shotgun
In Debt IV
Mentor Spirit (Dog?  Wolf?  Something else?)
Pie Iesu Domine. Dona Eis Requiem.
Sense of Direction
Social Stress
Speed Reading (just to imply something a bit different about his past life)
Uncanny Healer
== Powers ==
Adept Spell (Shapechange (F-3))
Astral Perception
Attribute Boost (AGI) Rating: 2
Combat Sense Rating: 1
Empathic Healing
Improved Reflexes 1
Improved Sense (Discriminatory smell)
Improved Sense (ultrasonic hearing)
Improved Sense (low-light vision)
Killing Hands
Spirit Claw
== Lifestyles ==
Squatter (sleep in car) 1 months
== Armor ==
Armor Vest 9
== Weapons ==
Browning Ultra-Power
Walther Palm Pistol
== Commlink ==
Hermes Ikon (ATT: 0, SLZ: 0, DP: 5, FWL: 5)
== Gear ==
Fake SIN (Ian Smithson) Rating 4
+Fake License (Adept License) Rating 4
+Fake License (Driver's License) Rating 4
+Fake License (Pistol License) Rating 4
+Certified Credstick, Silver
== Vehicles ==
Chrysler-Nissan Jackrabbit (Subcompact)
Tipperman  --