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ZeusFire81

Indefinite Shapeshifting

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I have a PC who wants to play a pantoran smuggler, but also wants to play a clawdite for the increased flexibility and so that he doesn't have to stick out like a sore blue thumb all the time. He's suggested playing as a clawdite who has donned the appearance of a pantoran for the majority of the time. I honestly don't know if I should allow this or not, and how to implement long term shape shifting if I do. The only idea I can think of would be having him commit some of his strain threshold like you would force die (8 strain threshold instead of 11 for example). I'm going to turn to the experience of the forums for assistance.

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While I am not quite getting what exactly it is your player wants (or why), I also do not see the clawdites ability, to appear as someone else, having a time limit. Sure, they will likely reapply the change from time to time (after sleeping maybe) but the ability does not state anything like that. You certainly could check for the clawdite to keep the disguise up if critically wounded or something but all in all it depends on what is to be achieved by this.

So... what is their angle, what is yours?

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33 minutes ago, [Arkas] said:

While I am not quite getting what exactly it is your player wants (or why), I also do not see the clawdites ability, to appear as someone else, having a time limit. Sure, they will likely reapply the change from time to time (after sleeping maybe) but the ability does not state anything like that. You certainly could check for the clawdite to keep the disguise up if critically wounded or something but all in all it depends on what is to be achieved by this.

So... what is their angle, what is yours?

The PC just likes the appearance of the pantoran more than they like the clawdite, but he also wants the ability to shape shift in a pinch. I was thinking more along the lines of is this even possible for a clawdite to do, and how would I represent this mechanically. 

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Well it does sound somewhat odd... or to put it differently, as if the player does not want to play a clawdite but a shapeshiifting pantoran - infact maybe not even that. But yeah clawdites are in "No Disintegrations" the book for bountyhunters. There you find the rules for the ability the clawdites use to change their appearance. They do read as if there should be not much of a problem pulling that off.

Even though what you write reads like the player in question is not all to interested in roleplaying and background choices, I shall try not to judge on what is a superficial impression at best and suggest the following:

Have the clawdite be an orphan raised by pantorans, giving the character a reason to identify strongly with those people and maybe even being more adapt at appearing like one of the foster parents or maybe a foster sibling if available... something like that. Make something fun and storyworthy out of it.

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I had this exact question today, as a player might be considering a Clawdite.  I decided it didn't matter, there was no effective time limit.  They might revert if they become Incapacitated, but otherwise it's like a chameleon, they can stay shifted for as long as they want.  In your case, it's not like they get any Pantoran abilities.

In fact, you could have fun with it on a couple of levels.  First, if they are subjected to cold weather you could probably give any Pantoran (or people familiar with Pantorans) a boost die or more to see through the disguise.  "Why are you shivering?  We never shiver..."

Second, they can't just shape shift to any shape, they have to look like specific person they have seen (personally I think they should have to touch them, that would be my house rule).  So this could lead to all kinds of cases of mistaken identity...in a galaxy as integrated and mobile as Star Wars there's still probably no more than 6 or 7 degrees of separation...the PC is bound to run into someone who thinks they know them, especially if Obligation is triggered.

 

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For what it's worth, Zam Wessel briefly loses her assumed face in Attack of the Clones, when Anakin hops on her speeder. I'd say a couple of threat on a roll under stress or surprise could be interpreted as a similar temporary loss of form. I don't think Clawdites are supposed to quite match Mystique in shapeshifting prowess. 

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My GM said that he wanted to play a Clawdite once we eventually switch seats again, so I've put a little thought into the topic.

While I agree that there is no time limit per se on taking a specific shape I might require another Resilience (I think that's the one) check when they're in stressful situations for extended periods of time.

I'd also consider a shift to be maintained consciously, as in: No shifting while sleeping.

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No shifting while asleep indeed. I don’t see anything wrong with constantly staying in the same shape, though. It always helps when no one knows that you’re a Clawdite. My Clawdite PC is the generic human, Rav Lanedarter, 99% of the time,

Edited by Yaccarus

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12 hours ago, coyote6 said:

For what it's worth, Zam Wessel briefly loses her assumed face in Attack of the Clones, when Anakin hops on her speeder. I'd say a couple of threat on a roll under stress or surprise could be interpreted as a similar temporary loss of form. I don't think Clawdites are supposed to quite match Mystique in shapeshifting prowess. 

Personally, I'd just call that the GM spending some advantage from the players athletics/coordination roll to give the player some story insight rather than coming up with a particular mechanic for it.

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In the racial description for clawdites it says some will assume a new race and persona since clawdites are not trusted.  So if people don't know they are a clawdite than they will trust them more and be less suspicious. 

It makes sense to me to sform the race to stay in another form the majority of the time. 

 

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I wouldn't hit them on their racial ability too hard... they paid for it, after all... There's nothing in the rules that says that they change shape when asleep or unconscious, so... why do it? As for involuntary shifts - maybe on a Despair on a Cool check, or a required opposed Resilience check... but that's it.

It's their thing. Let them have it... although I like the 'Frog's idea of the actual person that they're impersonating (and/or their friends, enemies, frenemies, etc...) showing up.

Especially when it's a Hutt.

("what!? no... I'm not Han Solo! I don't even know the guy? What!? What spice? I don't even have a ship!? Why is Boba Fett after me? And what's the deal with those Rodians? They look pissed...")

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I feel that a Clawdite could wear a "comfortable" (ie. one that they're used to and like) "shape" for as long as they wanted to.

Of course, sleep and massive distractions (like critical damage) would definitely have a chance of making them change back to their original shape.

I'd also toss in random shape changes during sleep, just for fun :)

"you never know who you wake up as" should be a clawdite saying :D

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If you really wanted to mess with their head,  you could have the prolonged shapeshifting literally mess with their head.

I remember a scifi short story about this guy who kept trying to understand the various alien species humanity would encounter, and underwent extreme surgery to transform his body into that of the actual species.   The whole story was that his perception of the world changed as his body did, since his sensory organs were entirely different.   By the end, he had changed like...6 times I think?   Before the doctors said his nervous system couldn't handle the change more than one more time.  By that point, he was so far removed from the mindset of a human, that he was beginning to terrify the people who knew him.  Eventually the government, as a retirement package, since he'd helped them not destroy 6 species to get what they wanted (he was basically used by them as an inside agent, to convince them to work with the humans for the resources they had), they let him design his own body.  He incorporated bits from all the previous species he'd been, and then they left him on a planet by himself, so he could begin to see the universe through this altered body.   Really trippy story, but it was cool in it's take on "our body is our perception of the world around us, and thus colors how we behave" idea.

If he's going to be doing prolonged shapeshifting, I'd probably start having him react like the species he is duplicating.   Perhaps not to the point in the story above, but perhaps in small ways.  He begins to find members of that species alluring physically.   His sense of taste and smell are more akin to them, and he finds himself eating their food more often, and genuinely enjoying it.    If the species has a unique trait, don't give him that trait, but perhaps let him sort of feel an instinctual echo of it.   Little things like that.   

Perhaps, if he REALLY goes deep into this shape, and stays like it for months on end, perhaps toss a setback die on any of his dice rolls if he's not in that shape anymore.   His body doesn't feel right, reflexes are off, mental acuity is weird, unable to focus as easily, etc.  

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On 12/1/2017 at 1:31 PM, KungFuFerret said:

If you really wanted to mess with their head,  you could have the prolonged shapeshifting literally mess with their head.

I remember a scifi short story about this guy who kept trying to understand the various alien species humanity would encounter, and underwent extreme surgery to transform his body into that of the actual species.   The whole story was that his perception of the world changed as his body did, since his sensory organs were entirely different.   By the end, he had changed like...6 times I think?   Before the doctors said his nervous system couldn't handle the change more than one more time.  By that point, he was so far removed from the mindset of a human, that he was beginning to terrify the people who knew him.  Eventually the government, as a retirement package, since he'd helped them not destroy 6 species to get what they wanted (he was basically used by them as an inside agent, to convince them to work with the humans for the resources they had), they let him design his own body.  He incorporated bits from all the previous species he'd been, and then they left him on a planet by himself, so he could begin to see the universe through this altered body.   Really trippy story, but it was cool in it's take on "our body is our perception of the world around us, and thus colors how we behave" idea.

If he's going to be doing prolonged shapeshifting, I'd probably start having him react like the species he is duplicating.   Perhaps not to the point in the story above, but perhaps in small ways.  He begins to find members of that species alluring physically.   His sense of taste and smell are more akin to them, and he finds himself eating their food more often, and genuinely enjoying it.    If the species has a unique trait, don't give him that trait, but perhaps let him sort of feel an instinctual echo of it.   Little things like that.   

Perhaps, if he REALLY goes deep into this shape, and stays like it for months on end, perhaps toss a setback die on any of his dice rolls if he's not in that shape anymore.   His body doesn't feel right, reflexes are off, mental acuity is weird, unable to focus as easily, etc.  

Sounds like you are referring to a story similar to Man+Plus.

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as an alternative to using a clawdite, there is also an "Outlaw Tech Flesh Camouflage Set" which provides for an ability to termporarily shapeshift. it seems more flexible and easier to manage in terms of in-game mechanics.

Since it comes at a high cost, so you can give it to your PC at expense of some starting XP points, or make it a small adventure of its own to get one.

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7 hours ago, Cvltvre said:

Sounds like you are referring to a story similar to Man+Plus.

Read the synopsis, and yeah, kind of.   Though it wasn't to save mankind, and was more "We're going to come to this planet and take it's resources, and we don't care if someone already lives there.  We'd LIKE to not have to commit genocide...again....so we'll try it with this guy who doesn't mind radical surgery to be an alien....but if he fails...we'll still do the genocide thing."  :D  

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I wouldn't allow the use of two entirely different species profiles together; but I don't see any harm in using a "default" appearance that this character would always appear as. Clawdites from what we know don't have any particlar limitations aside from DNA testing and/or dead. So go nuts. Having a secret makes a character interesting.

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On 2017-11-30 at 2:03 AM, ZeusFire81 said:

I have a PC who wants to play a pantoran smuggler, but also wants to play a clawdite for the increased flexibility and so that he doesn't have to stick out like a sore blue thumb all the time.

Why would such a mundane thing as a blue skinned near human stick out at all in star wars?

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7 hours ago, penpenpen said:

Why would such a mundane thing as a blue skinned near human stick out at all in star wars?

Not everyplace in Star Wars has a lot of species diversity.  Theed appeared to be entirely human and Bespin was much the same apart from some Ugnaughts here and there.  I think a Pantoran might be noticeable in either place. 

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2 hours ago, Vorzakk said:

Not everyplace in Star Wars has a lot of species diversity.  Theed appeared to be entirely human and Bespin was much the same apart from some Ugnaughts here and there.  I think a Pantoran might be noticeable in either place. 

True, but the same goes for any species except the dominant one in a monoculture. If it's such a backwater that off-planet visitors attract a lot of attention, Pantorans would probably still blend in better than most species, considering how common humans and near-humans are. And if it comes to that, a pantoran with a layer of face paint in their preferred human shade would pass for human as well as most clawdites.

I get that some players don't like playing characters that look too inhuman, but trading a pantoran for a clawdite just strikes me as an odd choice.

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