I have a player who frequently shape shifts as a druid into different animals.

I have a player who frequently shape shifts as a druid into different animals.

I have a player who frequently shape shifts as a druid into different animals.  How do you guys deal with the holds and acquired moves and stats if they gain any?

Also.  How do you deal with the character’s inventory and belonging/weapons?

Just curious.  I am looking for ideas because at this point it has been very “loosly” handled by myself, the DM, of this particular campaign.

29 thoughts on “I have a player who frequently shape shifts as a druid into different animals.”

  1. Awesome picture.

    As long as the Druid is only shapeshifting into animals that belong to their chosen Land, they can turn into whatever they want each time they shift. I’ve never given a player a stat boost/penalty, nor changed their stats when they shift. It’s too messy for my tastes.

    As for animals moves while shifted, I don’t worry about writing down a specific list. If the move is something that they could only do as the animal they currently are, then it costs them a hold. If it’s a move they could do in either human or animal form, then it does not cost them a hold. If it’s a move they could only do as human, then they can’t do it until they shift back.

    Gear? Ask the player if their gear is accessible while they are in animal form. If so, then that’s fine, but no one is going to mistake them for a natural animal. If not, that’s fine too. They’ll look like a natural animal but won’t be able to use their gear until they shift back.

  2. Druid shapeshifting does not alter stats. The move itself says “You still use your normal stats but some moves may be harder to trigger—a housecat will find it hard to do battle with an ogre.”

  3. Ryan Abrams So if it is “harder to trigger” what does that mean as far as rolls go?  Or am I looking too deep into it because of the fact that the game is heavily narrative?

  4. I see…  So within the context of someone taking the form of a housecat you would probably need to do a defy danger roll to see if the cat could close the distance then a hack & slash if that was successful.

  5. Jaso0074 Maybe. Or maybe they simply can’t Hack & Slash because there isn’t really anything a housecat could do to an Ogre that the Ogre would be affected by. It’s about the narrative.

  6. That is to say, if they go for the eyes, that may be a good idea and triggers the move. if they just slash at them with housecat claws, the move doesn’t trigger and the ogre laughs at the pernicious cat… maybe even tries to pick it up, which then becomes a defy danger if they try to avoid it.

  7. Ryan Kruse you don’t dodge the arrow trap. You endure it with CON. Although an Elephant might have a move matching using its size to shrug off an attack. 

  8. Tim Franzke You may not Dodge arrow traps when you cross them, but I sure as shit do.  Taking an arrow to the face sucks, and I speak from experience.

  9. The rules say that your stuff merges with you when you shapeshift.  What he is saying that if the druid rolls a 6 or less that you could have as a tough consequence that they do indeed shapeshift, but some of their inventory is left on the ground in a heap, or maybe you area a bear with a backpack growing out of your head and covering your eyes.  

  10. In my games all items and equipment merges with the player as they shapeshift. In regards to moves, I don’t write any up. I allow the player to do anything that their form would normally be able to do. A large cat can jump large distances, a bat can fly around, and a fish can swim.

    When the player wishes to use an ability that is specific to that animal or form, then I have them spend hold. The action automatically succeeds. When it concerns druids and hold, expending hold always results in a success.

    That lion is going to use its roar to intimidate that group of Goblins? Spend 1 hold, they are all frozen in fear. The Parana wants to call other Parana nearby to form a huge group that will tear something to shreds? Spend 1 hold, the thing in question is shredded. The bat wants to map this cavern where there is zero light? Spend 1 hold to use sonar, and you now have a map.

    Of course you need to exercise common sense. The lion can’t roar to kill all of the Goblins at once, the Parana cannot bit through an underwater steel door, and the bat cannot use sonar to map an outdoor space that is very much open. Do what makes sense regarding the animals form, capabilities, and the limitations of said capabilities.

    As a rule of thumb I also do not let a player turn into the same animal over and over again to accomplish the same task. If the player turns into a great Ape, picks up a boulder, and slams it into a stone wall to break it, but it only makes a dent, once the hold is used up and they revert to their humanoid form, they can’t just turn back to keep chucking rocks until they succeed. Nothing is stopping them from turning into Elephant, Rhino, or Bull and trying to break the wall though.

    I also don’t allow them to exploit types of species to get around this rule. If they turned into a Silverback Gorilla I don’t let them turn into a Blackback Gorilla to try and finish the task. If they want to turn back into a Silverback and try to accomplish a new and unrelated task, I generally allow it. The point of limitation is to avoid ridiculous power gaming by shapeshifting crazy players who have the luck of the gods on their sides regarding their rolls.

  11. I like limiting the options on hold moves becuase it keeps the druid in some line and also creates interesting choices for the player. 

    Any fictional reasons for why constant same form doesn’t work? 

  12. Tim Franzke my player is a hardcore wargamer. She only understands power gaming and munchkinism. If allowed she would continually repeat the same form, using infinite hold to complete the task at hand. It doesn’t seem to add anything fictionally when a druid has to repeatedly take the same form to accomplish something. It makes the entire idea of hold seem annoying, rather than a situation where you have a limited number of attempts to accomplish your goal(s).

    I’ve borrowed some ideas from other posts here for how to handle a 6- result for shapeshifting rolls. Angering the animal spirit, wearing out the animal spirit, the animal spirit perceiving the player as taking it for granted, etc… I find it really hard to come up with original reasons as why the limit is placed, but I’m not sure how else I could handle it. I think the Druid is super powerful and when you add infinite hold to the mix there is little that can stand in their way.

    My player gets upset when I add a limit. She feels she should be able to do it until it finally gets the job done. But this seems like a Take 10 or Take 20 method of handling guaranteed success. In all cases so far this has only happened outside of combat. I try to introduce a tough situation where only an animal form could accomplish the task. If I let her have it her way, I might as well throw hold out the window and only deal out successes for whatever she attempts.

    What is your take for a player like this? How would you handle it? Any suggestions for a better, less rule lawyering approach, to handling these situations?

  13. What’s this about infinite hold? Its either 1 or 3. Similarly if its a 6- you can come up with all kinds of justifications to inconvenience her. A good one I like is that the transformation takes a long time, leaving her vulnerable to whatever challenges she is currently facing. (E.g. attacks in combat)

  14. The problem I see with making the transformation take a long time is that it messes with the core reason a player chooses that PB. It feels very much against “Be a fan of the players”.

  15. Being a fan of the players doesn’t mean letting them have their way all the time, it means making their lives interesting. If they roll a 6- you are supposed to make a move, and a slow transformation (i.e. Turn their move back on them) is a perfectly acceptable answer.

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