The Beast Form spell

The enemy lurks in shadows
tinydanzer
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:31 am

Feel that there is not enough information on how the spell works.

CN: 5
Range: You
Target: You
Duration: Willpower minutes
You infuse your very bones and flesh with Ghur, warping your
body into that of a creature. When cast, select a new form from
any of the Beasts of the Reikland section of the Bestiary (see page
314). Use the standard Traits for the creature. For every + 2 SL,
you may include 1 of the included Optional Creature Trait.
While in Beast Form, you look like a normal version of the
creature, with amber and brown colouring. You may not speak,
which means you cannot cast spells, or attempt to dispel.

Is the spell.

Page 245
In Beast Form, replace ‘Use the standard Traits
for the creature.’ with ‘Gain all the standard
Traits of the creature, except the Bestial Trait.
Further, replace your S, T, Agi, and Dex with
those of the creature, then recalculate your
Wounds.’

Is the Errata.

Questions i have are as follow.


1. Do you keep your talents and/or skills after the change.
You keep your own intelligence and wp, which i find to support that your keeping your knowledge and skill, but its not clear.

If not, i find issues with the fact that, for instance, a wolf is a horrible tracker by its stats, even if a gm would houserule something on the fly when it comes to tracking. Can you read as a spider ?
Are you more Athletic if your character is athletic when it comes to jumping as a wolf. Are you less cool when frightened, since you dont use your upgraded cool skill.

2. Is the weapon skill in beastform dependant on meele brawling, meele basic or just WS stat.

3. If you go to zero wounds as beast what happens. If you lose 5 wounds as beast and change back to human, what happens. If you loose a limb as a beast what happens, is there a difference between a wing or a leg when it comes to what happens.

4. If you have 5 s and 4 t from bear form and then 5 wp, you succeed the SL roll by two, and make the bear one step larger (enourmous) you have 72 wounds. By 4 SL you can raise your WS by another 10 and you allready use your own. If talents are actually useable in bear form, you can combine it with Robust for instance.... Your effectively making a very powerful monster out of a medium level spell.
tinydanzer
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:31 am

And if im misunderstanding something i make as a statement of fact, plz tell me where my think pattern has gone wrong :P
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 469
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

tinydanzer wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:34 am
Questions i have are as follow.


1. Do you keep your talents and/or skills after the change.
You keep your own intelligence and wp, which i find to support that your keeping your knowledge and skill, but its not clear.

If not, i find issues with the fact that, for instance, a wolf is a horrible tracker by its stats, even if a gm would houserule something on the fly when it comes to tracking. Can you read as a spider ?
Are you more Athletic if your character is athletic when it comes to jumping as a wolf. Are you less cool when frightened, since you dont use your upgraded cool skill.

2. Is the weapon skill in beastform dependant on meele brawling, meele basic or just WS stat.

3. If you go to zero wounds as beast what happens. If you lose 5 wounds as beast and change back to human, what happens. If you loose a limb as a beast what happens, is there a difference between a wing or a leg when it comes to what happens.

4. If you have 5 s and 4 t from bear form and then 5 wp, you succeed the SL roll by two, and make the bear one step larger (enourmous) you have 72 wounds. By 4 SL you can raise your WS by another 10 and you allready use your own. If talents are actually useable in bear form, you can combine it with Robust for instance.... Your effectively making a very powerful monster out of a medium level spell.
1: You keep your talents and skills as per the spell as-written. note that the statblocks in the rulebook are explictly unfinished and you're meant to add skills/talents as needed so normal wolves may be better trackers than you according to what your GM decides.

2: natural weapons are handled as melee basic in publications, i'd assume that's a blanket decision.

3: your number of wounds remaining, not taken is looked at for post-spell calculations. 0 wounds is 0 wounds, you don't take damage because your possible maximum suddenly goes down unless you were over the new limit. loss of body parts is up to the GM, however. please to not provoke the GM.

4: yeah, it's been established that higher-level spellcasting is busted.
Ayantis
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:31 pm

Your spell description seems to be missing a part of it.

The last sentence in my book reads:
”If you have lost any Wounds when the spell
ends, you lose the same number of Wounds when you revert to your true form, to a minimum of 0 Wounds.”

This should answer question 3.
Any Critical suffered when in the Beast form remains , the spell doesn’t regenerate lost limbs, and it’s up to the GM.


2. Natural weapons are typically handled by Melee (Brawling) , and it is recommended that the Beast wizard gets some advances in it.

4. Yes, you could become a combat monster , but then RAW you need to wait WP minutes for the spell to wear off, or you have someone in your party who could dispel the spell for you.
In certain situation this could lead to interesting roleplaying.
tinydanzer
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:31 am

Yes, my spell description is missing part of it. I copy pasted what my spell description and errata is. Im confused how you have more then that and where from, but either way, good to hear. (would like to hear where that text is from though)

About criticals, it they stay which i find fine, i would question extra limbs you dont have as a human given your animal form. But again, as a houserule, i am in agreement. Again, do not find this clear.

About number 2. You are in conflict with what Orin said. I, as a game master myself would probably house rule it to brawling. (not the scene now though, im a player).... What im mainly interested is the strict rules themselfs. What do you have that backs up your "Natural weapons are typically handled by meele brawling" theory.


Ps: For the record, there are two spell casters in the group, thus dispel is not an issue, thus easily misused.


PSS: not trying to outlawyer my game master, we are both interested in your take on the issue.
Last edited by tinydanzer on Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
skylark
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:17 am

Keep in mind your not a shape shifter, this is a spell and when you cast this on your self you are changing into something else, there are allowances made for basic mental acuity but a bear is still a bear even if he is a little smarter.
(in DnD terms, Polymorph and not Shape change)


1. Beast don't have skill and talents, so I don't see why you should have access to yours while in Beast Form,
The errata states exactly what you are allowed to alter from the basic beast stat block (you are now playing) and this is very similar to the WFRP 2nd limitations.
So, no Pigeon with 1-3 time hardy (10wounds), no bookish bear or wolf riding a wolf.

2. you only have WS

3. You have a Wound attribute and then you receive wounds, the spell only alter one of those things, so if you had received 5 damage before changing into a beast the beast should have 5 damage as the beast. Since you are not receiving damage when changing back and your wound threshold never goes below 0 then losing more wounds than you have while changing would make you: go to 0, go prone and unconscious within T rounds if no healing is received as described on page 172.
As a GM: I would hose rule this and keep same percentage ratio of wounds as before so 25W/5w would change to 5W/1w etc..

4. This is how you make the Beast Form spell more than the basic version of a beast (and not your stat block), the spell has the 2nd lowest CS number because it meant to be build up on extra success (WFRP 2nd had three different spell for beast).
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

All Creatures in the Bestiary have baseline/starting stats, so you're not supposed to use them as is. You're supposed to add Traits and Careers to them to tailor them to your table. So no, you don't just get the plain profile from the back of the book with some Characteristics swapped in.

You do get all your own Skills and Talents, though there will be some commonsense rulings on whether you can use them (e.g., if you have no fingers, you can't play an instrument). You can add Optional Traits with Overcasts which will bump you up further.

You would use Melee (Brawling) or WS, as teeth, claws and other natural weapons technically count as Unarmed (under Brawling on the Melee Weapons Table).

While Orin is right that, for most NPCs, the Weapon Trait technically means a Hand Weapon of some kind (and therefore Melee (Basic)), that isn't true for animals as they don't have Hand Weapons.
skylark
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:17 am

adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:52 am
All Creatures in the Bestiary have baseline/starting stats, so you're not supposed to use them as is. You're supposed to add Traits and Careers to them to tailor them to your table. So no, you don't just get the plain profile from the back of the book with some
Characteristics swapped in.
Sorry that just wrong, I'm guessing I have not read many other RPG systems, Monster blocks like these are meant to be quick and simple and there good reason they do not have their own skill and talents. The system even goes into great length to make it so you do not need to tinker with the stat block to much by creating optional traits like: Big, Cunning, Leader, etc.. just to reduce the amount of tinkering you need to to as a GM, but of course a GM can create whatever monster he want with talent and skill he likes but this monster manual was built so you don't have to.
adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:52 am
You do get all your own Skills and Talents, though there will be some commonsense rulings on whether you can use them (e.g., if you have no fingers, you can't play an instrument). You can add Optional Traits with Overcasts which will bump you up further.

You would use Melee (Brawling) or WS, as teeth, claws and other natural weapons technically count as Unarmed (under Brawling on the Melee Weapons Table).

While Orin is right that, for most NPCs, the Weapon Trait technically means a Hand Weapon of some kind (and therefore Melee (Basic)), that isn't true for animals as they don't have Hand Weapons.
Your statemen here are not backed up by any logic or facts? I may be wrong in I how I read the rules and compare them against previous versions and other RPG games, but I least I'm basing my statements on something.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

skylark wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:10 pm
Sorry that just wrong, I'm guessing I have not read many other RPG systems, Monster blocks like these are meant to be quick and simple and there good reason they do not have their own skill and talents. The system even goes into great length to make it so you do not need to tinker with the stat block to much by creating optional traits like: Big, Cunning, Leader, etc.. just to reduce the amount of tinkering you need to to as a GM, but of course a GM can create whatever monster he want with talent and skill he likes but this monster manual was built so you don't have to.
Sigh. Where to begin...?

Read p.310 of the core rulebook. It says right at the top that you are encouraged to modify all the stat blocks. However, we have developer confirmation that 'encouraged' should basically read 'strongly encouraged'.

Look at the sample Humans as an example--these are the baseline stats for generating a Human character, without Species Skills and Talents or Careers. 30 is (just about) the average of 2d10+20. These Humans would fail against starter PCs quite a lot of the time.

See also the Troll. RAW, a Bestiary Troll can never use its Die Hard Trait as it requires +6 SLs and it only has Toughness 45. If you run the critters as is, they will be easy to kill and won't be able to use their Traits effectively.

But you don't need to take my word for it. You can read the (excellent) dev blogposts on how to stat up NPCs:
https://lawhammer.blogspot.com/2020/01/ ... s.html?m=1
http://lawhammer.blogspot.com/2020/02/l ... s.html?m=1

In the first one, Andy Law says:

Image

And clarifies: 'Put simply, this means that that WFRP's Chapter XII: Bestiary is expressly not a collection of statistics for commonly met adversaries. Instead, it's a list of the base-line statistics for GMs to build upon as they require.

'Many folk miss this, expecting a standard Bestiary with average stats that are ready to use. But, somewhat uniquely, this is not what is offered.'

Okay, so your answer is wrong there, but understandable. The book isn't very clear. That doesn't mean you get to be rude, though. Please keep it civil, even if you disagree with me.

Onto the next part...
Your statemen here are not backed up by any logic or facts? I may be wrong in I how I read the rules and compare them against previous versions and other RPG games, but I least I'm basing my statements on something.
I'm not sure which part you're disagreeing with here. You may think that a character doesn't keep their Skills or Talents, which is your interpretation, and fine as far as these things go.

I base my interpretation on what the spell specifically says you can't do, rather than assuming based on previous editions. Your reasoning is fine, but 4e changes enough from previous editions that I think it's fair to say it may not follow on identically. The spell specifically says: 'You may not speak, which means you cannot cast spells, or attempt to dispel.'

That's very specific and the exclusion is around a lack of speech, not any other faculties. Therefore, I read that as only being barred from doing things that require speech. It doesn't say 'you are a dumb animal; you cannot use any other Skills or Talents'.

Furthermore, the description specifically says you 'Use the standard Traits of the creature', not 'replace your Skills and Talents with the Traits of the creature'. It explains which Characteristics stay the same and which change, but says nothing about Skills. That could be read as an omission, or it could be read that you only change the things specified.

To me, it doesn't make sense that you'd forget how to use Perception, Intuition or Track just because you 'look like a normal version of the creature'. Looking like implies the change is superficial, at least to me.

I would also argue that Talents like Rover and Alley-cat are especially useful and more likely to be appropriate for certain animals than Humans. It doesn't make sense to have a blanket rule against their use.

Given how weak the baseline animals are, and the expectation that you'll give them Traits and/or Career advances anyway, I think it's fair to assume you won't just have those baseline stats if you transform into one.

I can see your interpretation, certainly, but my understanding is different. If you disagree, that's fine, but there's really no need to get offensive or angry about it.

Teeth and claws specifically use Melee (Brawling), so that part is correct. If you don't have a Melee Skill, you default to WS, so that part is correct too.

ETA: I checked the uFAQ for Beast Form, and could only find confirmation that they can't speak (but not anything else): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s7- ... p=drivesdk
tinydanzer
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:31 am

Adam: You said : "Furthermore, the description specifically says you 'Use the standard Traits of the creature', not 'replace your Skills and Talents with the Traits of the creature'. It explains which Characteristics stay the same and which change, but says nothing about Skills. That could be read as an omission, or it could be read that you only change the things specified."

The errata actually states "gain" which i find to support your take on it alot more. If it had stayed as "Use the standard traits" it could be read that your supposed to use what the animal has (nothing) instead of own skills and talents, even if i wouldnt agree, i see the possibility of reading it that way.

But the errata talks about it as "addons" to what you allready have in my opinion.
Thus i agree with your take on it and dont see a way to understand it different personally.

Page 245
In Beast Form, replace ‘Use the standard Traits
for the creature.’ with ‘Gain all the standard
Traits of the creature, except the Bestial Trait.
Further, replace your S, T, Agi, and Dex with
those of the creature, then recalculate your
Wounds.’
skylark
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:17 am

Adam nice work! sorry I was a bit harsh I really wanted to open up this conversation and get some feedback and nothing gets people more motivated than being told on forums absolutes or that they are wrong :D

I agree with many of your statement here, the Bestiary is meant to represent the average joe of any race/kind and you are definitely encouraged to to modify the attributes as you see fit, and yes the creatures are to weak that has always been my experience in WFRP. But it's design is meant to be simple, taking your example (for an example) if a troll is needs to be a little better at regeneration you raze it toughness, if it should better at fighting you raze the weapon skill, you don't give it a regenerations skill or melee brawling skill, that stuff your reserve that for nemesis and named characters that require more depths and dimensions. (nice links btw, you should read Andy Laws comments in the reply section as well, defiantly reading more of his stuff)

This is about the same in any RPG system that uses different stat block for monster and for character. The system is designed to reduce the work load an allow a GM to pull out an encounter on he fly with little prep work.

The additional traits reflect this, need a tougher Troll make him a little Big an it gain +10 to T & S, need a clever goblin give it Cunning and raze it's Int, Fel & I by 10

Going back to the spell:
As I read this spell, a monster stat block is the base line "of the spell" any extra SL allows you to modify the Base line by adding a trait (nothing to do with how a GM can modify beast to make them more threatening).
To me the the spell is meant to be a bit weak, the creature you can change into is suppose to be average and the low CN number reflects this, if you want to create a more powerful beast then you are suppose to build up the CN number so you get a multiple traits added to your form.
You are not excluded from using any of the skills your character has (except those stated, speaking, spellcasting, etc.), but in this new shape you are limited to using the base attributes you now have.


Allowing Skills and Talents to me feels more like loophole logic, trying to gain something more than the spell was intended for, rather than actually reading it as is.
The "Use vs. Gain" change is a correction in language , it more accurate statement, that as the creatures you have these traits (negative or positive), use could mean it did not have to affect you (like: as a bear I chose not to USE Skittish trade). The intended errata being implemented is that you have all the Traits except Bestial.

Ok so this is how the I read the Spell as is, that does not mean I agree it should be this way and as GM I would defiantly be willing to modify it in some ways like allowing the spellcaster to to add his Talent instead of a Trait on +2SL and allow a basic list of Trait to be available to any beast form (like: Cunning, Clever, Big, Fast, Tough, etc..).
Or just increase the CN 12 and allow players Talents and Skills

Ps. The wolf is not a horrible tracker, he has the Trait:Tracker with gives him +3SL on any tracking roll, unlike Talents, this Trait does not require a successful roll to gain this SL benefit.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

No problem. We're all cool here. :D

If you read Andy's comments, he talks about using Careers as well as Traits. That includes Skills and Talents. The Bestiary can be simple (by adding Traits), but the examples Andy gives are quite detailed despite that, and pile on the Skills, Talents and Traits.

I think we should also bear in mind that Beast Form isn't for some NPC mook. It's a PC in altered form. You don't want to make PCs-as-mooks, you want to make PCs-as-cool-monsters. I mean, you could make them into mooks, but I think that might be quite dispiriting.

Your interpretation is fine, if you prefer a lower fantasy playstyle, but I don't think it's RAI. I also forgot about the bit where it says 'Gain the Traits...' in the errata, as that confirms what I'm saying, IMO. If you 'gain' those Traits, you add them onto what's there.

The easiest way to get a definitive answer would be to ask for dev clarification on Discord, though, if you want an absolute.

My personal quick rule, though not RAW, is that you use the higher of your own or the beast's base stats, plus any Optional Traits you may gain, with some commonsense exceptions (e.g., low Dex if you don't have fingers).

That way, it's nice and easy and the players feel like they get to be playing a cool critter from time to time, rather than just using Beast Form to make their escape. E.g., they can now enter combat as a beefy wolf, giving them an interesting contribution to combat.
skylark
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:17 am

I think this is the core of our disagreement:
adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:40 am
I think we should also bear in mind that Beast Form isn't for some NPC mook. It's a PC in altered form. You don't want to make PCs-as-mooks, you want to make PCs-as-cool-monsters. I mean, you could make them into mooks, but I think that might be quite dispiriting.
I do not believe this is some shape changing combat fighting skill, there are other skill Lore of Beast has for combat, to me this is a utility spell meant to be used in clever ways during roleplay.

Two thing I things about spell are strongly support this is utility:
1. CN is low, so the power should be low
2. Duration is long, combat spell usually last rounds not minutes.
tinydanzer
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:31 am

Adam: What discord server can i reach the developers at and what are their names ? (ill not tell them you sent me to bother them) :D
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 469
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

tinydanzer wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:11 am
Adam: What discord server can i reach the developers at and what are their names ? (ill not tell them you sent me to bother them) :D
the ratcatcher's guild is where they used to pop in from time to time, although i left the server a while pack so someone else will have to give you a link if you can't find it by a search.
tinydanzer
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:31 am

Not finding any such public server. Meh, would have been curious to argue or hear the devs point of view.
User avatar
Karanthir
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:30 am

tinydanzer wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:11 pm
Not finding any such public server. Meh, would have been curious to argue or hear the devs point of view.
Here you go: https://discord.gg/Na7KFSzrpQ

I don't go in the 4e sections though, so I'm not sure if the devs are still there.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

We now have dev confirmation on The Rat Catchers Guild, and it was as I suspected: you keep all stats that aren't specifically changed, including carrying over any Skills and Talents, etc, using commonsense to adjudicate which can still be used. E.g., no pianist wolves.

This has been marked for inclusion in the uFAQ, so should be up with screenshots after the next update.
User avatar
Orin J.
Posts: 469
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 pm

adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:34 am
- E.g., no pianist wolves.
*Flips table* Entirely unplayable! i had a whole campaign arc riding on that!
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

Orin J. wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:38 pm
adambeyoncelowe wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:34 am
- E.g., no pianist wolves.
*Flips table* Entirely unplayable! i had a whole campaign arc riding on that!
Let's boycott Cubicle 7 till they give us our pianist wolves! :lol:
Post Reply