[Heroquest 2.0] Transformations

edited September 2009 in Story Games
Creating Genre Packs gives a bunch of advice on treating magic and other extraordinary abilities.

It is, however, silent on how to treat extraordinary powers that semipermanently change someone's ability to frame the contests. (Change the results of the credibility test for the target of the ability.)

For example: someone has a spell Transform Into Pretty Much Any Animal 18. So, they transform into a finch: they're small and they can fly. Considerably later -- still a finch -- they want to evade a group of archers by the virtue of being small and being able to fly. This is clearly credible. Question is, what ability to use?

Some options I can see:
  • Transforming into an animal grants the corresponding keyword with all abilities at 6. Individual animal forms can be improved with hero points as if they were a regular part of the character.
  • Transforming into an animal grants the corresponding keyword at a level determined by the victory level of the original contest.
  • Transforming into an animal grants the corresponding keyword with all abilities at the level of the transforming ability.
  • Transforming into an animal grants the corresponding keyword, with abilities mapped to character's normal abilities. Eg.you lose Brave 3w, but gain Flight 3w.
Any other ideas? What approaches have people running non-Gloranthan HQ used to deal with this?

There's a character in my Teenage Fairies Exiled From Arcadia in Al-Amarja game with an ability like this. So far I've been playing it very much by the ear, and while there have been no problems of note so far -- partly due to the game's freewheeling nature -- I'm trying to figure out how to deal with powers like this in games where consistency of powers is more important.

EDIT: formatting and typos.


  • Posted By: nikodemusTeenage Fairies Exiled From Arcadia in Al-Amarja
    When you arrange these words in this order, goodness pours out of them.
  • edited September 2009
    First, I think Transform into Pretty Much Any Animal is broad, so when using it to transform into specific animals, I'd probably give it a -5 or a -10. When a situation arises where transforming into pretty much any animal is what's needed (an example would be a transformation war, ala Sword and the Sorcerer) then it can be used without penalty.

    For doing things while transformed, such as dodging archers, they can use the ability (with the appropriate penalty) to cover things that they can now do in the transformed form, that they couldn't do before. Yes, that means that archers are probably more likely to win the contest. This doesn't mean that the archers become better marksman, their victory should come in another form (like they are able to more easily capture the poor flustered shapeshifter who is easily worn out dodging these seemingly MASSIVE arrows). But it does model the sort of transformation stories where a dabbler (18) often finds themselves in over their heads when any sort of opposition comes about (again, look at Sword and the Sorcerer, in HQ terms Merlin is completely losing the contests when dealing with squirrel type problems, and has to eventually return to human form to keep from getting totally defeated).
  • The philosophy behind HQ 2.0 is supposed to be 'less numbers' on the sheet, so I would agree with Alvin, use the transforming ability to cover things that the player can do because he is transformed. In essence the ability represents not just how good you at the transformation, but in 'being a bird' etc. I would tend to treat it as a broad ability though, both to transform into a specific creature, and when transformed. Transform to Bird would be specific, but shape changing to any animal is broad.

    That is certainly how Moon Designs is looking to handle things for Glorantha. Drafts of how to handle Gloranthan magic such as summoning elementals in Sartar, Kingdom of Heroes, use the runic affinity rating to summon the elemental as the ability rating for the elemental for example.
  • Oh! More-specific-ability rule does indeed fit the bill here. Thanks!
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