The power to adapt one's shape, required for the members of the Courts of Chaos.

Thinking about Shapeshifting?

You should consider Shape if:
  • You want the most survivable character possible.
  • You want the flexibility to turn into anything and everything.
  • You want to disguise yourself to fool other players.
You should probably not consider Shape if:
  • You want a power that lets you manipulate or travel easily through Shadow.
  • You don't want to risk the GM taking over your character.
  • You don't want to spend a lot on Endurance rank.

The Core Shape Mechanic

Every character has a native humanoid form-- the form you were born with. Generally this form is Amberite standard, although minor variations are allowed with GM approval.
Changing your shape is a difficult process requiring energy, time, and full concentration to complete. The speed of your shift is dependent on your Shape rank and how different your new form is from your current one-- the lower your rank and the more drastic the change, the longer it takes. Improvising a form always takes longer than assuming a known form. Most of the time Shapeshifting is impractical to combine with other actions in combat unless the Shaper has Fast Forms (see below).
Your body morphs from one form to another by passing through appropriate intermediate stages. If you stop a Shift before it is complete, you will rapidly revert to the shape you had before the attempt. Maintaining the Shifting process while being attacked or distracted is dependent on Shape rank and other factors. Once a Shift is accomplished it can be maintained with only minimal concentration, although rendering you unconscious may still revert you to human form. It is always possible to intentionally revert to your base form for free in a short period, although this process is extremely distracting to you and takes time proportional to the relative shift (possibly even just a few seconds).
Generally Shapeshifting is a straight Attribute substitution for raw physical qualities; you act as any example of your new form would regardless of your rank as a humanoid. A Shifter with Chaos-rank Strength who turns into a living diamond is just as tough as a Shifter with 2nd rank Strength who does the same, provided they have a similar Shape Rank. However, if the two Shifters of a similar Rank decide to wrestle, 2nd rank Strength would win-- because she retains the technique portion of her Attribute. Shifting never alters your Endurance or affects the skill and knowledge portions of Warfare and Strength. Your cognitive abilities do not change with any physical Shift. However, your ability to speak intelligibly, perceive your surroundings, or manipulate objects may be impaired or enhanced. Mental Shift (see below) makes it possible to alter your own mind's functioning, although such a process has its risks (see below).
All Shifts to forms other than your native human one cost at least one Endurance. Most shifts will cost a small number of Endurance, but extremely complex shifts are among the most Endurance-intensive activities in the game. Endurance for Shifting is expended at the beginning of the Shift regardless of whether the process completes. Once a form is completely assumed it costs no Endurance to maintain. Most Shifts outside of combat can be done more slowly to ease the process; doing so significantly increases the necessary time but reduces the Endurance cost of the Shift by one (to a minimum of one).

Becoming a Shapeshifter

Shapeshifting is mostly genetic; if one or both of your parents is a Shapeshifter, then you have a built-in excuse. Sometimes Oberon is a Shapeshifter and sometime he isn't, depending on the game. In the Courts of Chaos nearly everyone is a Shapeshifter, but the closer you get to Amber the less common the Power becomes.
However, you don't have to come from a Shapeshifting family to learn the Power. All living creatures contain the essence of change by definition; and with a little aptitude and many years of rigorous and painful training by an expert Shapeshifter, most Amberites can pick up the knack.

Choosing Forms

You should come into the game with a short list (no more than two or three dozen at the outside) of forms that your character already knows. These are forms that your character has practiced enough to do accurately and quickly. Mechanically these forms take less time to assume, but the true value here is mental: it means that you as a player already have some idea what you can do with your Power.
Shifters should try to account for the different environments they may visit during a Throne War when choosing their forms. What form would weather a hail of bullets? What form can fly? What form could function fully underwater? What form can see in the dark? What form can move quickly? What form survives in a vacuum, or a pit of lava? Often with a little creativity you can have only two or three forms that cover all the necessary bases.
On the flip side, Shifters should have forms that allow them an offensive edge or allow them to do otherwise impossible things. Camouflage forms are useful for spying. Fire breathing is always good to bring to a fight. You never know when the ability to secrete acid could come in useful. Attack the problem from both directions: come up with forms that you think would have many applications, and try to think of specific things you want to do and figure out the forms to do them. Don't forget that these forms can be survival forms as well.
The most important decision you are likely to make regarding forms is choosing your Fast Forms (see below). These are your workhorse forms, the ones you will use most in the Throne War. Choose wisely; try to pick forms that you could use in a variety of situations, and make sure the Fast Forms aren't too redundant with each other.

The Perils of Shape

Power Word: Resume True Form

More commonly known as "Schang!" Resume True Form is the standard defense against Shapeshifters, and for good reason. At its strongest, it can take a Shapeshifter and cause them to helplessly revert to their human form. Less powerful uses still cause the Shapeshifter to divert their concentration into maintaining their forms. And even when the Power Word fails the target's form usually still ripples visibly, revealing them as a Shapeshifter.
There is no simple defense against Schang. Any of the Power Defenses will protect against it as they do against all Power Words, but that requires the Shifter's full concentration. A high Shape rank makes it more likely that you can control the reversion, but it generally can't stop it entirely. Stopping an Amberite from speaking in the first place obviously has its own problems. The only silver lining is that the more often a given Amberite uses Resume True Form on you, the weaker their version gets. Still, that gives them at least two or three solid Schangs, and that can be more than enough.

Walking the Pattern

The Pattern doesn't like Shapeshifters-- they have too much Chaos in their makeup for its liking. Any Shapeshifter walking the Pattern will be forcefully--and painfully--reverted to their native physical and mental form. Particularly strong Shapeshifters could conceivably hold their form about halfway through the walk with a Herculean effort; no one passes the Third Veil in anything other than their original form. There is no way to prevent this other than leaving the Pattern.
Notably, this means that Shapeshifters who are walking the Pattern are almost always unable to use Automatic Shift or Shape Wounds. Attempting to go Automatic on the Pattern is asking for damage, and wounds Shifted on the Pattern usually cost more Endurance than they're worth.

Chaos Cancer

Even a Shapeshifter's body can only handle so many changes before it needs to recover. This isn't a question of Endurance; the cells simply begin to lose coherency after multiple rapid, intense Shifts. In the Courts this is called Chaos Cancer; cells in the Shifter's body begin to Shift uncontrollably and infect other cells to do the same. The condition is potentially lethal if untreated and at the very least incredibly distracting and painful. Amputation can sometimes stem the tide, as can concentration focused by meditation; neither of these truly cures the condition. Walking the Pattern will destroy Chaos Cancer with 100% effectiveness but will likely cause incredible damage to the host in the process. Most real cures involve finding a specialized physician in the Courts who possesses the ability to Shift Others (see below). Any Shifter with that ability may assist in fighting the Chaos Cancer, but they risk infecting themselves in the process.
The potential for Chaos Cancer may be mitigated (but not eliminated) by possessing a high Endurance or Shapeshifting rank, by spacing out Shifts instead of performing them immediately after each other, and by limiting the number of really dramatic Shifts. Usually a Shapeshifter knows when their body is edging towards Chaos Cancer, but it is still entirely possible to develop the condition without noticing if the Shifter's attention is otherwise engaged.

Losing Control

Automatic Shift and Mental Shifts of persona always mean losing some degree of self-control. Using these abilities means at least letting the GM co-pilot your character for a while... and possibly letting them take control entirely. It's a measured risk. Neither ability is going to get you killed (probably), but that doesn't mean they won't get you in trouble. Automatic Shifts can blow disguises and prevent other forms of Shifts; personas can act against your interests directly or simply deposit you in an incredibly awkward situation when they wear off.
Avoiding these abilities entirely is unwise-- they're too useful as tools to ignore. But a Shifter should always be mindful of the risks, and a player should always be willing to run with it if a Shift starts going wrong. Losing control should be fun, at least for a little while-- it's an interesting game complication and it makes for good stories. But if you're not the kind of person who can enjoy accidentally being Dworkin for a while, you may want to consider another Power.

Primal Form

Primal Form is the ultimate defense mechanism for a Shapeshifter. When a Shifter is near death or overwhelmingly threatened by it, her body assumes a form that can either beat the living crap out of whatever's threatening her or get away from it as fast as possible. Primal Forms break a lot of the normal rules of Shapeshifting: they cost no Endurance, they can modify and regenerate themselves on the fly, they're usually enormous and dangerous, and they happen fast.
The problem is they're also mindless. Primal Forms are an embodiment of the fight-or-flight instinct and Shifters have no conscious control over them whatsoever. The Shifter doesn't get to pick what they turn into nor what they do once Primal Form goes into effect-- they hand their character over to the GM for the duration and just have to deal with the consequences.
Players will always know when they're about to go Primal, but the Shift is impossible to suppress if the danger continues for more than a few moments. If the danger passes or the Shifter escapes, she can try to fight off the Shift to Primal Form. Success is by no means guaranteed; it's dependent more on the Shifter's Psyche than their Shape rank. Other people may enter Psychic contact with the Shifter to try and suppress the Primal Form before it starts, but if the attempt fails then everyone involved goes Primal, or acts like they do if they do not have any Shape.
While in Primal Form, Trumps to the Shifter do not work; there's not enough consciousness left for them to latch on to. The Primal Form is unable to communicate and cannot be reasoned with. It has no memory of personal history and does not differentiate between the Shifter's friends and enemies. It is not limited to forms the Shifter knows, although it is generally limited to Shapeshifting abilities the Shifter possesses. If the Shifter had other Powers, the Primal Form may be able to instinctively call on them. It can still be wounded and killed, but it is immensely more resilient than the Shifter normally would be and gets a full refresh of health the moment it assumes control.
It is possible but difficult to go Primal and regain control of your character within a Throne War. If the Primal Form escapes to somewhere it feels safe for a sufficient period to calm down (usually a few real time hours), the player can properly rejoin the game after it passes. This almost always requires some fortunate circumstances or forward planning on the part of the Shifter. Alternately, other players can forcibly reverse a Primal Form. Many different methods work here, the simplest and most common being Psyche dominating the Shifter and putting them to sleep. However, this requires containing the Primal Form to dominate them--which is no mean feat--and having players who want to bring you back in the first place. Your cabal-mates can always decide they're better off without you.
Any time a player goes Primal, they must make a decision: they can choose to wait for possible recovery or rescue, or they can concede the game and let loose a Blood Curse before they change. Once a Blood Curse is uttered, the Primal Form is permanent; the Shifter may be killed and will die naturally before a year is out, but she will never return to her original form. A player who decides to wait out their Primal Form has no guarantee of reprieve; as such, the GM will usually tell a player privately if they think there is no reasonable chance of rescue. If a player later changes their mind about waiting and wishes to concede, they may do so. However, instead of a full Blood Curse they get a one-time blast of Bad Stuff to be leveled only at the person or persons responsible for sending the Shifter into Primal Form. That's all the coherency that the Primal Form can manage.

Power Breakdown

All abilities can be combined freely except where indicated. Additional Endurance costs are cumulative.

Automatic Abilities

Animal Shape

The fundamental ability of Shapeshifting, this allows the Shaper to change their entire body into another creature. The animal mimicked must be of approximately the same size as a human (no smaller than a medium-sized dog and no larger than a horse) and either a real creature or a realistic one approved by the GM. Standard animal characteristics like fast reflexes, night vision, or wings are allowed-- fire-breathing and invisibility are not. Using Animal Shape costs 1 Endurance.
Whenever a Shifter with this level of proficiency turns into a hawk, they turn into the same hawk. Generally this is the hawk the Shifter studied when they were learning the form. The ability to change coloration and individual features requires Shift Features (see below).

Basic Abilities

Automatic Shift

The body of a Shaper with this ability can act independently of their consciousness to try and preserve itself against environmental conditions. If the Shaper is drowning, the body will attempt to grow gills. If the Shaper is falling off a cliff, the body will attempt to become lighter and more rubbery. Automatic Shift always chooses the simplest form.
Automatic Shift may be activated consciously and only costs one Endurance, but the Shaper does not control what form their body will assume. The Shaper cannot perform any other Shapeshifting while Automatic Shift is in effect. Activation of Automatic Shift is instantaneous and requires no combat action; a character is allowed to activate Automatic Shape as they are rendered unconscious. Automatic Shape persists until either the environment becomes safe for the Shaper to resume their native form, until actively suppressed by the user, or until the Shaper dies or goes Primal. Suppressing Automatic Shift is always a fight requiring at least a few seconds, significant concentration, and one Endurance. Once suppressed, Automatic Shape remains disengaged until reactivated as above.
On occasions of significant danger, the Shaper's body may choose to engage Automatic Shift without waiting for a signal. This is particularly likely when the Shaper is already unconscious or highly wounded. A conscious Shaper will know when their body is about to go Automatic and has the option to suppress it before it begins. Suppressing it still requires one Endurance and full concentration.
While Automatic Shape is active, new wounds do not automatically roll up the damage chart. Instead, wounds check off the lowest available box of the wound's level or higher. For example, Loki the Shapeshifter has two Serious Wounds and one Deadly Wound but no Surface Wounds. Normally another Surface Wound would automatically kill Loki because any wound when you already have a Deadly is fatal. However, if Loki has Automatic Shapeshifting active, that Surface Wound remains a Surface Wound and does not kill him-- in fact, Loki can take another three Surface Wounds with no ill effects. But another Serious Wound will still kill him even through Automatic Shape, because there are no available Serious or Deadly boxes left to fill.

Fast Forms

This ability allows the Shifter to be familiar enough with several forms to Shift into them in a single combat round. This action requires concentration; it cannot be combined with other Power usage and may grant Advantage to opponents for physical actions. Endurance costs for the Shift are unaffected. Any form the Shaper is capable of taking can be a Fast Form. By default the Shifter gains two Fast Forms, but any Shifter with Intermediate abilities gains an additional Fast Form and any Shifter with Advanced abilities gains yet another Fast Form (for a total of four).
Thematically, a Fast Form should represent an aspect of your character rather than just be tactically convenient. The classical Chaos and Avatar forms could be said to represent the character's Id and Superego, for example. Unlike other forms, a Fast Form is one with which you identify powerfully; it isn't so much a shape you take as an alternative way of understanding yourself.

Size Shift

This ability allows the Shifter to alter their mass significantly, allowing them to become as small as in insect or as large as the mythical Roc. It also allows them to adjust their size while retaining human form.
Altering your size takes significantly more Endurance than usual based on the number of size thresholds you pass during your shifts. In ascending order, the rungs are insect, baseball, basketball, standard size range, limousine, house, mid-sized apartment building. Every threshold passed costs one additional Endurance on top of the base cost of one, so transforming from human form to giant ape would cost four Endurance, while transforming from a giant ape to a housefly would cost a whopping seven. Most Shifters with time to spare choose to revert to human form first in such situations and then Shift to the new form in order to save Endurance. It is not possible to assume a form smaller than an insect or larger than a mid-sized apartment building.

Shift Features

This ability allows the Shaper to alter the cosmetic details of a form: instead of becoming a particular bird, you can become any bird of a similar type. When applied to their human form, this means the Shaper can disguise themselves as any other person-- right down to voice and scent. Alternately, the Shaper can display artistic flair in their forms, adding colors and cosmetic features that would never be found in nature.
Shift Features is free when combined with any other Shift, but costs the minimum 1 Endurance if used independently.

Intermediate Abilities

Shape Wounds

(requires Automatic Shift)
Simply, this ability allows the Shaper to instantly heal wounds. One wound can be healed per combat round. This action requires concentration; it cannot be combined with other Power usage and may grant Advantage to opponents for physical actions. Wounds heal entirely rather than downgrading: Surface Wounds cost 1 Endurance each to heal, Serious Wounds cost 2 each, and a Deadly Wound costs 4 Endurance. If a Shaper has Endurance tokens remaining when going into a rest period, these can be spent to heal wounds before natural healing occurs.

Partial Shift

(requires Shift Features)
Shifters with this ability can alter part of their form at a time as opposed to assuming an entire shape. This includes gross anatomical features, whole-body qualities, and internal structures. Most often this is applied to human form: Shifters can give their native form dark-vision, regeneration, diamond claws, fire breath, wings, or two backup brains in each foot.
Each simple Partial Shift costs 1 Endurance, which may be added to any other costs the Shift would normally incur. Complex Partial Shifts that would radically alter the function of the entire body or would simply never work even in myth cost 2 Endurance. Abilities from Creatures of Power (see below) can only be applied if the Shifter has that skill. Simple Partial Shifts can be combined freely: if you want a human form that has claws and wings, you may do so for the cumulative cost of each. Complex Partial Shifts can be combined freely with simple Partial Shifts, but cannot be combined with each other-- that would be an entirely different form to be learned and applied separately. Simple Partial Shifts can generally be accomplished in combat rounds, but complex Partial Shifts take at least a few minutes to effect. Any Partial Shift ends when the Shifter assumes a new physical form.
There is no functional difference between Shifting to human form and growing wings and Shifting directly into the form of a race of humanoids in Shadow who naturally have wings. The only differences are tactical, particularly in conjunction with Fast Forms-- one path may take less time or cost less Endurance than the other.

Creatures of Power

(requires Size Shift)
Creatures of Power allows a Shifter to adopt the powers of creatures of myth and fantasy: they can become fire-breathing dragons, displacer beasts, gorgons, and phoenixes.
In general, use of this ability adds one Endurance cost per naturally-impossible trait, although the GM may charge more for really unusual ones. If the target form has multiple Power traits then the costs stack. For example, a dragon is a large, flying, armored, fire-breathing creature. Flying and armored never go together in nature, so that costs one. Fire breathing costs another. Assuming a dragon form therefore costs one base Endurance plus two Endurance for Creatures of Power plus any size modifiers.
With Creatures of Power, the Shifter can assume forms which can travel and manipulate Shadow. Shadow travel by this method is slow, limited, and uncomfortable. Shadow manipulation is similarly narrow. Generally a form only has one limited trick: a leprechaun that can produce bags of gold coins at will is possible, but a wish-granting genie is not. Powers that affect the contents of a Shadow are vastly more common than powers that affect the local natural laws, and almost all of the latter type of power work only on the creature itself. Alterations to Shadow will fade when the Shifter alters their form, and Creatures of Power never gives you the ability to alter things with a touch of true Power. This explicitly includes all players, with a potential exception for Shape Others (see below).
Creatures of Power only allows the Shifter to assume forms that possess a coherent suite of powers-- or at least ones with fictional precedent. Using a form that has numerous unrelated powers requires Partial Shift (see above). Creatures of Power is also limited to fleshly biological entities, although this rule can be broken using Inorganic Shape and Insubstantial Shape (see below).
Creatures of Power can also duplicate the Powers of Toys (Not Personal Shadows). They cost an extra surcharge of endurance equal to half their total Point cost in Endurance, rounded up.
Creatures of Power never gives you the ability to bypass the basic rules of Shapeshifting, nor does it give you virtual access to other Shapeshifting abilities you do not possess. You can turn into a phoenix, but your self-resurrection power only works if you retain your form while dead and don't go Primal; and you can't take the form of a ghost unless you also have Insubstantial Shape.

Inorganic Shift

(requires Creatures of Power)
This ability allows the Shifter to assume non-biological or non-living forms ranging from golems to shrubberies to oozes to Ferraris.
Using Inorganic Shift adds one to the Endurance cost of the form, which covers all the natural benefits of being made of something other than meat. Any additional powers granted by the form must still be paid for via Creatures of Power (see above).
While in an inorganic form, the Shifter does not need to eat, breathe, or sleep, and cannot be poisoned or infected. She does not bleed but also does not heal without the use of Shape Wounds (see above). Inorganic forms cannot recover Endurance by resting, and gain all the logical vulnerabilities of their compositions-- metal forms can be magnetized, wooden forms can be ignited, etc. Assume an inorganic form does not make the Shifter any less vulnerable to psychic attack.
Inorganic forms with apparent means of locomotion, communication, or perception may use them freely. This explicitly includes forms like statues that appear functional but aren't; a Shaper in statue form behaves as a person made of stone, not a stone that can think. Shifters in forms without inherent mobility may still tilt, roll, and hop short distances. This does not grant non-flying objects the ability to hover. Shifters in forms without senses will still be able to dimly perceive their surroundings via a sensitivity to pressure and vibration and a weak form of radar. These faux senses give a general idea of the surroundings but no details-- you can tell if someone is present or talking but cannot identify them or understand what they're saying. Forms without physical means of communication may only do so telepathically. Mid-level Shapeshifters usually choose inorganic forms that inherently possess some or all of these qualities; however, Partial Shift (see above) allows forms that look like objects but possess disguised functional organs and Insubstantial Shift (see below) allows those qualities with no physical organs at all.
Inorganic forms must have one contiguous solid or liquid mass. Inorganic Shift also does not allow you to break the rules of a Shadow with regards to natural laws. A Shifter in the form of a Ferrari in Amber cannot make use of her own engine since internal combustion doesn't work.

Advanced Abilities

Mental Shift
(requires Partial Shift)
This ability encompasses two basic tricks: shaping your own aura and assuming someone else's persona. Mental Shift costs 1 Endurance and a short action and can be incorporated into most other Shifts. Any Mental Shift ends when the Shifter changes physical forms.
A Shifter with Mental Shift can nullify their own aura or disguise it be something else. This can be used to mask life signs, personal psychic signatures, or the appearance of Power. Auras of Powers that the Shifter possesses can be manipulated perfectly, but imitations of Powers that the Shifter does not have are never exactly right. Similarly, imitating someone else's psychic signature is dependent on how well you know them as well as your Shape rank. Using this trick to assume someone else's psychic signature has no effect on the reception of Trump transmissions, nor does it alter the Shifter's actual thought processes. However, a Shifter can use this ability to project their own native form over a Trump connection even if they aren't currently in it. Observers trying to penetrate your disguised aura initiate a Power vs. Shape contest or a Psyche vs. Shape contest; in the latter case the Shifter has Advantage.
The second trick is much more useful but vastly more dangerous. A Shifter with this ability can attempt not just to imitate someone but to become them mentally. The Shifter assumes the personality and knowledge of the target, acting as they would and displaying a degree of the skills they have. This is perfect for infiltration that requires extended conversation or specific knowledge. It is also an excellent way to temporarily borrow a skill that the Shifter does not actually possess-- if you become a fencing master you gain some real talent with the blade. However, you can never gain virtual Powers in this fashion.
The downside to Shifting persona is that the Shifter subsumes their own personality to do so. This has the potential to screw up Trump connections both to the Shifter and the person being copied. More importantly, there is a very real chance that the persona will take actions the Shifter doesn't actually want; and in a worst case scenario the Shifter loses control entirely, effectively blacking out as the assumed persona runs around in their body. These risks are mitigated somewhat by the Shifter's Shape rank, but even a skilled Shifter can be thwarted by a strong personality or one with a Psyche higher than their own. Uncontrolled persona shifts will usually fade with time, and can be combated with a little time, full concentration, and further Endurance if the Shifter's mind is not totally subsumed.
Mental Shift also interacts greatly for the Shapeshifter when interacting with their natural enemy, SCHANG!. Power Words are less effective when you Shape your persona, as the magic user cannot name both targets.

Shift Others

(requires Mental Shift)
As the name implies, this allows the Shifter to impose changes on other peoples' biology.
The first use is an out-of-combat one: the Shifter can alter willing allies or dominated enemies. Doing so takes at least a delay longer than the Shift normally would if applied to the Shifter herself, and costs one additional Endurance. All Endurance costs of the Shift are paid by the Shifter, not the target. The Shifter and the target must be in Psychic contact, and being in actual physical contact makes the process much easier. A willing target may engage in Psychic combat or attempt to break contact at any time. Willing targets have a functional knowledge of any Shifts done to them, but it is possible for the Shifter to make a sufficiently subtle change that the target might not notice. Attempting to do so is a straight Psyche contest; close ranks will still give the target the idea that the Shifter is up to something even if she cannot identify precisely what's wrong.
Any Basic or Intermediate Shape ability the Shifter knows can be used, as can the aura-changing capability of Mental Shape. Such Shifts last several hours depending on the Shape rank of the Shifter, but will fade if the target is unconscious-- except for Shift Wounds, which is permanent. Targets cannot simply will Shifts away unless they are also Shapeshifters; to remove a Shift they must either sleep or apply a relevant Power.
Multiple Shapeshifters can contribute to Shifting Others as long as they have the appropriate abilities, which may speed things up; Endurance costs can be split however the participants wish as long as each pays at least one Endurance.
The second use of Shift Others is more combat-appropriate. Actually changing the shape of a target takes too long to be useful, but a Shifter with this ability can temporarily disrupt the normal functioning of a target's body. Using Shift Other in this way requires a mental contact sustained for a full combat round, and the attempt costs the Shifter two Endurance. This use of Shift Others cannot be performed in concert with other Shifters. The target always knows what's happening to them; if the target can break mental contact or overpower the Shifter in Psyche combat during that round, the Shift is unsuccessful. If the Shift is successful, the Shifter applies a non-incapacitating ailment to the target. This can be any normally possible body malfunction ranging from blindness to nausea to paralysis, but is usually limited to one organ, system, or limb. It is not possible to cause wounds or death directly using Shift Other. Targets can have more than one of these Shifts applied to them, although each Shift must be applied and paid for individually.
Removing this type of hostile Shift takes time equivalent to healing a Serious Wound. This takes place in parallel to any normal healing and Endurance recovery.

Insubstantial Shift

(requires Inorganic Shift)
With this ability the Shifter has transcended the need for physical density and can arrange themselves as patterns of energy or gas, becoming lightning storms, shadows, poisonous gas clouds, fire elementals, and ghosts. Insubstantial forms must still be confined to one area, and the Size Shift rules still apply.
Using Insubstantial Shift adds two Endurance to the cost of the form. Insubstantiability confers all the basic benefits and problems of Inorganic Shift (see above), but also renders the Shifter entirely immune to conventional physical attack. An insubstantial Shifter cannot be stabbed, shot, bludgeoned, or crushed. However, as with Inorganic Shift, every insubstantial form can still be affected in logical ways. Insubstantial Shifters can still be wounded and killed, but the methods must be tailored to the form-- shadow forms can be wounded by bright lights, fire elementals can be doused, etc. Additionally, many insubstantial forms run the risk of being dispersed; the Shifter's Strength rating can be used to hold her together under stress, but her Strength is far less effective than it would be in a material form. As with Inorganic Shift, insubstantial forms are still normally vulnerable to psychic attack. Insubstantial forms also often interact with other insubstantial things as if they were both physical, such as other shifters or insubstantial Logrus Tendrils.
Insubstantial forms gain analogues of all human senses for free-- processing energy signals is part of learning Insubstantial Shift. Touch, smell, and taste are weak and unreliable, but vision and hearing are approximately as effective as they are in the Shifter's natural form. Insubstantial Shifters can also automatically create vibrations to simulate speech. It is possible to adopt the sensory and communication modes of Insubstantial Shift in an inorganic form for one additional Endurance, as long as the Shifter can Partial Shift (see above). Insubstantial forms move as fast as they logically would according to local physics, with a few restrictions: assuming such a form does not increase the Shifter's reaction time in any way, and no form may move faster than Engine Speed and maintain coherency. Insubstantial Shift does not automatically grant the ability to move through solid objects, nor any ability to apply physical force to move things around.
Almost every insubstantial form has several abilities from Creatures of Power (see above)-- as always, any trick that a natural organic form cannot do must be paid for separately. Insubstantial forms not held together by obvious physical forces are still held together by magic and must choose a thematic vulnerability or restriction which reflects their nature. Other players always have a chance to deduce a mystical form's vulnerability based on myth, legend, and personal experience in Shadow. Ghosts make an excellent example of both these ideas. In addition to being insubstantial, ghosts may also possess the ability to pass through solid matter, materialize to physically manipulate objects, turn invisible, or cause fear-- each of which would cost one additional Endurance to incorporate into the form. Ghosts are also commonly unable to penetrate areas demarcated by mystic sigils or lines of salt, or can be disrupted by certain metals or energies-- different kinds of ghosts from different cultures and worlds have different stories told about them.

Blood Creatures

(requires Creatures of Power)
Shifters with this ability can create small, independently functioning creatures out of their own blood and containing a reflection of their own Powers. Doing so costs one Endurance and a few minutes per creature.
Blood Creatures are bright red throughout and obviously identifiable unless their features are Shifted. They range in size between a mouse and a small wolf, but can be any creature the Shifter has studied (or can imagine) within those limits. They are delicate constructs and not designed for combat; a solid hit from any Amberite will dissolve them, as will strong Psychic contact. If left alone, a Blood Creature will survive for days or weeks depending on the Shifter's Shape rank.
The only Shape powers that can be applied to Blood Creatures are Shift Features, Creatures of Power, and Partial Shift, all of which can be incorporated for the usual amount of Endurance and time. Once completely extruded, Blood Creatures cannot be altered unless the Shifter has Shift Other (see above), in which case they can be altered per those rules within the limits above.
Blood Creatures can act as though they had a tiny shard of the Shifter's own Powers, mimicking her other abilities. A Blood Creature can be given a trick based on one basic or intermediate Power ability that its creator possesses for free. Additional tricks from the same Power may be added for 1 Endurance each. Blood Creatures can have tricks from multiple abilities within a Power, but can only contain one Power at a time. A Blood Creature's Powers are always weaker than those of their creator, and will generally fail in direct contest against Amberites wielding the same ability. Particularly intense use of some Powers may also destroy the Blood Creature in the process. With GM approval, it is possible to create Blood Creatures with tricks that are thematically appropriate to the Power but not strictly aligned with any of the player abilities. If a Blood Creature is given a shard of Power, it detects and reacts as appropriate to other Powers.
Blood Creatures can take orders and follow directions but are not particularly intelligent. They cannot communicate or use tools with any precision, and while they have some small ability to improvise, they cannot deviate from any orders they have been given. Blood Creatures are fearless and will follow suicidal orders without question. If a Shifter re-absorbs their own Blood Creature, they get an impression of what it has experienced but not fully detailed memories. A Shifter can try and absorb Blood Creatures created by someone else, but the process is uncomfortable and yields even less information than if the creature were the creator's own.
Shifters may begin the game with pre-created Blood Creatures, but the cost of these come out of the Shifter's Endurance at the start of game.


So it really costs the same to turn into a sloth as a panther?

Yes, really. There is no basic animal form that grants so much of a tactical advantage that it merits costing more than one Endurance. If the Throne War participants were playing humans it would matter-- a panther or a boa constrictor is significantly more deadly to a human than a sloth or a koala. But the players are Amberites. Assuming they don't massively sell down their Attributes, swatting a panther isn't really any more difficult for them than killing a sloth.

Strength and Forms

There are two notable exceptions to the Strength substitution that normally occurs during Shapeshifting. First, alternate forms that are humanoids in the standard size range retain your character's purchased Strength. Second, Creatures of Power can allow smaller forms to have disproportionate Strength. Turning into a bunny with Chaos Strength costs 1 Endurance, and Amber Strength costs 2.

What is an "animal?"

Animals, as far as we are concerned, are things that are "Human" ranked, organic, and not explicitly Human. They are also logical, but that is for a certain definition of logic. Yes, a squid that only "breathes" in space and lives in a vacuum is an animal as long as it contains a comprehensive and non-contradictory power set. As an example, a squid that can survive in both a vacuum and in the deep ocean is a Creature of Power.

Why all the changes?

The actual functionality of Shape isn't changing that much in this revision. What's changing is the distribution-- we pulled apart Advanced Internal Self Shape, which was far, far too powerful; combined Shapeshift Aura and Shapeshift Persona into one omnibus power; separated out the combat useful Shape Wounds; and removed things that no one knew what they did like "Advanced Animal Shape." We wanted to be sure that every ability and level of Shape was worth taking.
We also reconfigured almost all the individual Shape abilities for clarity. Hopefully this time each power is conceptually sound, intuitive, and easy to separate from other abilities on the list. A lot of these revisions were based on stuff players actually did in game-- Inorganic and Insubstantial Shape in particular wouldn't exist if people hadn't tried to turn into energy squids and iron golems. Some of the revisions also tried to address abilities that were impractical to use in play; Shape Other should actually be useful now.
There were a few limitations we added. Your base form is now sensibly limited to humanoid standard to preserve game balance. And the Endurance break for knowing a form is gone because it was too time-consuming to check a player's form list every time they wanted to do a change. Still, the new rules should give anyone with a little imagination any number of dangerous ideas; I'm fully expecting Shifters to be just as badass this year as they have been previously.