Mirrors and Reflections
Not a true Power by itself, shapeshifting is more a collection of knacks perfected by any manner of beings. While some sages debate the origins of Trump, Pattern, and Logrus, the origins of shapeshifting is both as primordial and ancient that they take it as a moot point. The earliest beings of Shadow were shapeshifters, creatures formed of will out of pure raw chaos, and a handful of these eldritch and hoary things still dwell in the depths of Shadow, dead and dreaming. All who dwell in Chaos can trace their ancestry back to these ancient shapeshifters. In truth, nearly any creature could be a shapeshifter, whether they know it or not. The danger of shapeshifting lies in losing oneself within the forms they assume, as well as the infection of primal chaos itself, as the body ceases to listen to the mind’s commands. Shapeshifting requires at least Chaos level Endurance, and attempting it with less than Chaos level Psyche highly limits the forms the character can assume without going mad.
- Tier One: Basic Shapeshifting
You have begun to experiment with the ability of changing your form, and have mastered only the most rudimentary aspects of it. Relying more on your own survival instinct than any higher function, you have managed to allow your body to adjust as it sees fit to continue its survival. By letting go of direct control of the shapeshifting, your body will adapt within reason to survive in a non-optimal environment. The more deadly the environment, though, the less control you have while in that form, risking losing control entirely in certain situations. Additionally, at this level, you can alter your appearance slightly, changing hair color, eye color, and height and girth within limits. Finally, you can focus to speed the healing of wounds, sealing shut potentially fatal arterial slashes and the like.
- Tier Two: Practiced Shapeshifting
You have become familiar with riding the edge of control that is involved in shapeshifting, and have begun to be able to shape it with increased facility. What began with minor alterations has matured into being able to shape your body into a copy of another being’s, though your Attributes are unchanged at this level. The greater your familiarity with a being’s physical form, the more perfect of a copy you can become. You maintain your own mind and consciousness, and have to practice before mastering any skills the form might have. You have also begun to be able to shift your body into forms commonly referred to as beast forms. Such forms are those of creatures of Shadow, from as simple as household cats and hunting birds, to such things as manticores and perytons.
- Tier Three: Adept Shapeshifting
At this level of practice, you have ceased to ride the edge of control in shapeshifting, knowing that it is the control that is the illusion. In this, you have unlocked a form as true as the one you were born with. Called the Demon form by chaos-aligned shifters and the Avatar form by order-aligned shifters, it is best described as an expression of the inner self in the flesh. Such a form is generally suited for combat and survival with greater proficiency than the shifters normal form, and can be maintained effortlessly. The Avatar form is generally that of a great beast of the natural world, such as a giant hunting cat, or a large dire wolf with jet black fur. The Demon form, on the other hand, is usually a far more horrific blend of the extremes of Shadow potential, combining inhuman shape with poison, claws, and armor. Once you have unlocked your Demon or Avatar form, however, it is permanent and unchanging. At this level of ability, though, you can also shift into beasts of Power, such as those created by Lords of Chaos or Princes of Amber.
- Tier Four: Master Shapeshifting
While you have come a far way to reach this point, you have reached merely a plateau of facility at this point. You have unlocked another true form, this one of an elemental nature, composed out of the raw material of Shadow itself. Some find themselves made of living fire, while others are made from ice, and still others make their flesh out of the very air itself. Regardless, while a shapeshifter is in this form, they are virtually indestructible, only suffering injury when cut off from the source of their element. Like an Avatar or Demon form, however, once this has been unlocked, it does not change. You have also mastered the ability to shapeshift your mind into another being’s, literally thinking as they think. To do this, however, you must either first have beaten the subject in a psychic battle, or to have tasted a sample of their blood. It is very risky shifting your mind into someone with a higher Psyche as yourself, however, for you will lose control during it, and likely have only sketchy memories. Finally, you have mastered the ability to shapeshift your very blood into creatures. These creatures may be things of Power, and you have an instinctual level of control over them, though they are not in contact with your psyche at all times. Merely, you program their minds and they may act as a direct extension of your will while in your presence.