Handling Shape shifting
When designing the setting for your campaign, there are several questions you should consider before you start playing. What, if any, supernatural elements exist? Are their existence common knowledge, or are they rare and mysterious? What is the general technology level in the world your players live in? What is the scale of violence they are likely to encounter if someone pulls a knife on a player, is that upping the ante on a generally hand-to-hand combat game, or are most battles settled with much heavier weaponry? Similarly, is this a world where a melee fighting character is expected to wear heavy armour, or do most people go unarmoured?
To help get you started and to make sure the players understand (you might know that a handgun is overkill for most battles the players will face, but they might think that an assault rifle is a reasonable weapon to start the game with), consider using the Campaign Character Sheet included with this book. The sheet can be thought of as a character sheet for your campaign it includes much of the information needed “at-a-glance” for your setting, though it leaves most of the detail, description, and life of the world something to be revealed during play. Simply check off the boxes that apply to your campaign, and maybe add some notes in the margins if you feel explanation necessary.
Magic: Check this box if magic of any sort exists in your campaign. If the box is unchecked, characters cannot take ranks in the Magic Skill, Magic Power, or Arcana skills. Similarly, the Magical Education character background is unavailable. If magic users are persecuted (maybe there is a witch hunt going on, and mages are burnt at the stake if caught), check the “Persecuted” box. If magic is something impressive, and its use will amaze or surprise most ordinary people, check the “Impresses Commoners” box. This is a useful indication of the rarity of magic in your campaign, and of how special a magic using player should feel. If magic is common and available to just about everyone, check the “Common” box.
Shapeshifting: Check this box if players can take the Shapeshifting skill. For descriptions of the Persecuted, Impresses Commoners, and Common boxes, see Magic, above.
Possession: Check this box if players can take the Possession skill. For descriptions of the Persecuted, Impresses Commoners, and Common boxes, see Magic, above.
Playable Races: Check any boxes that apply to which races the characters can play. There are blank lines for you to write in unusual races, such as goblins or aliens
Magical Monster: Check this box if monsters, such as dragons or demons, exist in your world.
Magic Items and Artifact Weapons: Check this box if magic items exist at all. If they can generally be found for sale in most cities, check the “For Sale” box. If magic items can still be created by living magicians (as opposed to all being relics of a day gone by, for example) check “Can Be Made.”
Deities: If deities are a part of your campaign, check this box. If their existence is easily provable (such as in many fantasy settings), check the “Inarguable” box. If deities actually take an active role in your world, check the “Take Action” box. If the Faith skill is available to PCs, check the “Faith Skill” box.
Other Planes: If there are other planes of existence, check this box. Then check off the boxes which apply to planes that exist, or you can write in your own.
Resurrection: If players can be resurrected after death (such as with the Resurrection spell seed) check this box.
Sentient Animals: If your fantasy setting has sentient animals, which can talk and act in many ways that humans can, check this box.
Science: Check this box if the scientific method would actually work in your setting. Check “Aristotalian/Fantasy” if the science of your setting is consistent, but works closer to how it was believed to in ancient times maybe the sun orbits the Earth, heavier objects fall faster, or everything is made up of four elements. If the laws of the universe work more or less how they do in real life (with the obvious exception of everything else checked off on this page) then check off this box. If, while travelling through space, a spaceship can encounter a “quantum time dilation field” or other similar pseudoscience phenomenon (for example) then check off the “Sci-Fi” box.
Elements: Simply check off any elements that exist in your world. This mostly matters for what elementals exist, and whether the elements found on the periodic table exist or not.
The Fastest Way from NY to London Is: Obviously, your setting might not have a New York or London. However, this category gives the players a good idea of what long-distance travel looks like in your world.
Transportation Methods in Use Are: Check off the categories of transportation in common use in your world. In the modern world, for example, automobile and jet plane would be checked off. In the industrial era, the steam engine and maybe horse-drawn carriages are checked off. In a distant future science fiction setting, travel might be mostly done using Warp Drive, thrusters, and Ãther portals.
Spaceflight is Limited to: If there is spaceflight in your setting, then this category gives the scale. Interstellar here means travel can be done between fairly nearby stars, and pan-galactic means spaceships can cross most of the galaxy in a reasonable amount of time.
Computing: Check off the category that closest fits the level of computer technology in your setting.
Artificial Intelligence: Check this off if AI exist in your world (and consider adding A.I. to the playable races section). If A.I. are seen as inferior to humans, check off Persecuted. If they are used for menial tasks like any other tool, check off Enslaved. If they are treated as exactly the same as a human in the eyes of the law, check off Equal Rights. If A.I. move around in generally humanoid bodies (instead of, say, being trapped in a desktop computer) check off Androids. If robots look and feel human, check off “Looks Human.”
Communication: Check off the kinds of modern and futuristic communication methods available in your setting.
Alien Life: Check off this box if there is extraterrestrial life. If the life is intelligent, check off “Sentient.” If the aliens are basically human in shape, check off “Humanoid.” If alien life is limited to plants and fungi found on other planets, check off “Flora.” If there is alien life, but it is on the level of animals, check off “Fauna.” If aliens in your campaign are, essentially, limited to monsters, check off “Monstrous.” If the types of aliens are manifold, check off “Varied.”
A Powerful Weapon Is A...: Check off the box that closest represents a weapon that the characters should be afraid of. This should be the smallest weapon that should still be seen as not merely a credible threat, but something that is more powerful than most other threats. In a martial-arts heavy or simply low-combat game, “fist” might be appropriate. In a high-violence modern setting, “military small arms” might be fearsome. If combat is mostly done by massive spaceships pummeling each other with heavy weaponry, then “Nuclear Weapons” would be what it takes to raise the stakes.
Armour: Check off the boxes that apply to where armour is used in your setting. If armour is commonly available (such as in a medieval or ancient setting), check off Common. If armour is used mostly by military or elite military personnel (such as the modern era) check off the appropriate box. If armour is only used in ceremonial functions (such as the early gunpowder era) check off “Ceremonial.”
Available Equipment, Materials, Vehicle Types, and Power Sources: Check off the items that are available in your campaign. For some boxes, the technology may exist to make the item, but it is still extremely difficult to find such as Fantasy Gear (ie, swords and spears) in the modern world.