||                                                            ||
||   DRAGONQUEST Newsletter                       April 1995  ||
||                                                            ||
||   Volume 2 / Number 4                                      ||
                  Special SHAPE CHANGERS Issue

The DQ Newsletter is for discussions of the DragonQuest role
playing game.  The key addresses you need to know are:

    Philip Proefrock (Editor, Article Submissions, Etc.)

    David Nadler (Distribution Coordinator)

    Drake Stanton (FTP Site Coordinator)

All articles are copyrighted property of their respective authors.
Reproducing or republishing an article, in whole or in part, in
any other forum requires permission of the author or the
moderator.  The DragonQuest Newsletter also maintains an ftp
archive site:
which includes back issues of the newsletter and other articles of
interest to DragonQuest players and GMs.

                  Special SHAPE CHANGERS Issue



 Letters  -- John Rauchert
          -- John Kahane
          -- Andrew Carter

 The Tale of a Dagger -- Andrew Carter
 Shape Changers -- from the rec.games.frp.misc Newsgroup
 Alternate Shape-Changer Conversion Method -- Mark Sheppard
 Reshaping the Shape-Changer -- John F. Rauchert
 Ritual of Becoming a Shape-changer -- Andrew Carter



This issue is bigger than usual.  If you have problems receiving
the entire issue (i.e. you don't see the END OF NEWLETTER
text at the botton), please let me know.


  This is the first "Special Issue" of the DragonQuest Newsletter:
the Shape-Changers Special Issue.  Hopefully we will have other
special theme Newsletters from time to time in the future.
  This issue started as I was going through some material that I
had received for the Newsletter.  There were a couple of articles
from different sources relating to shape-changers, so I thought I
would see what else I could find and try to have an issue largely
devoted to a single topic.  I announced that we would try to do a
shape-changers special issue, and asked for any material relating
to shape-changers.  We did get additional material, and I think
that this issue has turned out very well.
  Future special issues will depend both on what you would like to
see and on what material I get.  (If eveyone wanted to see a
Merfolk issue, that would be fine, but I need the material
submitted, too.)  Suggestions for future special issues (hopefully
along with some of your own material on the subject) is welcome,
as are all submissions to the Newsletter.


For a "dead" game system, DQ seems to have a pretty thriving
underground (or is that cyberground?).  I played DQ a lot in my
college days and I think that at the time it seemed like a breath
of fresh air removed from the endless D&D dungeon crawl.  Any game
system that had creatures able to chew up a haughty party and spit
them out was something different.

I think right now, because of a dearth of published "official"
material, we are in the "Variants from Hell" stage of DQ, although
this may be part of its appeal because it is a wide open system
with no one telling you what is right or wrong.

Anyway, keep up the good work, I have no ego about anything I
submitted so it doesn't matter to me when/if it gets published.
I'd just like to see this phenomena continue.

   (aren't Green Dragons supposed to be the wimpy ones?)
 -- John Rauchert  (john.rauchert@sait.ab.ca)

  ...(a)nother idea that I have is for a Character Corner.  People
can submit some of their favourite characters from over the years
for publication in the newsletter.  I have a couple of characters
that I can easily send in to get the ball rolling.  What do you

 -- John Kahane  (john.kahane@p5.f198.n163.z1.fidonet.org)

[Along with the Beastiary, I have thought that having a "Character
Corner" of one sort or another would be a good thing, and I'm glad
to see someone else calling for this, too.
  These characters could be NPCs that other campaigns could use.
One person's favorite player character might become an interesting
NPC, even a possible patron or adventure contact in another
  Starting next month, we will add this column to our regular
features in the Newsletter (although it may alternate with the
Beastiary, depending on the material that is submitted for these
columns).  -- ED.]

  What a great idea! I`m very much looking forward to this special
Shape-changer edition.  Here is a Ritual that you can include if
you want.  [The "Ritual of Becoming a Shape-changer" can be found
later in this issue.  -- ED.]  Please have more of these specials
in the future.

 -- Andrew Carter  c/o (dallbutt@st.nepean.uws.edu.au)

 -- Andrew Carter  c/o (dallbutt@st.nepean.uws.edu.au)
  Our GM said to me, while playing my ShapeChanger Bear character
BEORN, "There is a small gentleman charging you with a dagger."
As I was in Bear form and wielding a Hand-and-a-Half, I said
confidently, "Well this is one dead little gentleman."  The next
thing my character saw was the face of our Healer as he regained

This particular weapon`s stats are as follows:
   Name: "NYIDAINN" which means "New Moon Dead" in Dwarven.
   Rank: 9 {enchanted}.
   Weapon: Dagger.
   Appearance: Ordinary, to hide true nature.
   Initiative Value: Perception + Modified Agility + 9
   Strike Chance: 92% + Modified Manual Dexterity {includes
     R15 Enchantment, Shaping Magics}.
   Damage: +3 / +15 vs shapechangers.
   Class: A.
   Range: 8.
   Use: RMC.
   Weight: 10 oz.
   Special Properties: This weapon is silvered which means that an
Adept's cast chances are reduced by 10 when in contact with it.
It is considered a magic weapon.  It has the following spells
permanently invested in it:
  R15 Enchanting Weapons. Shaping Magics.
  R15 Slaying Weapons. New Spell. Shaping Magics and Ensorcelments
and Enchantments. [Andrew says he will detail this in a later
newsletter.  -- ED.]

  Brief History: This would probably be unknown to the players.
"NYIDAINN" was forged by Dwarves deep below the Mountains.  A
cruel Shapechanger by the name of Everric (which means `Boar
King`) rules a clan of vicious Shapechangers in a nearby swamp.
His expansionist desires now threaten a Dwarven clan in the nearby
mountains.  In fact, now raids below the surface became
commonplace.  The Dwarves, being very good weapon makers, forged
several weapons to combat these ShapeChangers - "NYIDAINN" being
one of these devastating weapons.  It used to contain the "EYE OF
  It is up to the GM to decide where to place this.  It was lost
in a battle in the swamp - or maybe even an underground battle -
no-one really knows.  There is only one thing that can be certain
 - the battle was never decisive.  The assassin that was holding
this blade never reached Everric who, through his spies, learnt
about these weapons.  Everric and his clan, along with the
Dwarves, still battle today.
  PCs could be caught in the middle of this as both groups are
using powerful magics to recover the weapon.  Just an idea for a
GM who may not want the party to keep such a powerful weapon or
wants to use good role-playing opportunities.

  If you want some more ideas for this adventure, or more details
for the other weapons, drop me a line (at the Email address

 -- Andrew D. Carter  c/o (dallbutt@st.nepean.uws.edu.au)

 -- from the rec.games.frp.misc Newsgroup

From: david_novak@cv.hp.com (david)

c_king@cc.colorado.edu says:
>Okay, but how do you determine what is equivalent to 25 PS?

If I remember the falling damage correctly, 10' = 1 endurance, 20'
= 4 endurance, 30' = 9 endurance, etc.  I would argue that Mother
Nature has a strength far in excess of 25, therefore, at about
30', the shape changer would take 9 endurance (possibly minus the
5 for their natural armor, but this is endurance damage, so I
would leave that up to you).

>But the rule as stated doesn't say they have to breathe just like
any other creature; it says they can't be harmed except by
silvered weapons, magic, or creatures with a PS greater than 25
(none of which drowning/asphyxiation damage is).

As for breathing underwater and being affected by natural fire, I
would again say that Mother Nature has a strength above 25,
therefore the shapechanger would eventually be affected by these
types of damage.  It probably should take longer for the
shapechanger to be affected than a normal mortal, but that 1.4
experience multiple has to go for something.  As for how much
damage the shapechanger suffers, I would figure out how much
damage you would give a normal human, and then subtract the 5
points for natural armor.
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: jgbst8+@pitt.edu

>Okay, but how do you determine what is equivalent to 25 PS?

Ah, wing it?  Seriously though, just figure out how much a regular
crushing blow from a PS 25 person would cause in damage, then at a
falling distance that would cause a similar amount of damage,
start applying damage.

>...doesn't say they have to breathe just like any other...

I don't remember anything in the rules stating *explicitly* that
normal creatures breathe either, but I took it as read.  Shape-
changing is not a panacea for all of life's processes, unlike
being undead.  It is a magical enhancement of certain aspects of
nature to an extreme, silver unravels that magical enhancement.
Thus they are enhanced creatures and not magical constructs or
undead.  Thus they breathe, eat, and take dumps.  Because of their
enhanced nature they are stronger, faster, tougher, etc. so they
can go without air for longer and without food and water, but they
still need them.  That heightened production of adrenaline and
whatever can only go so far. The magic knits their bones together
better, increases the armoring value of their skin, etc. but it
does not encase them in a magical bubble; its a quasi-natural
process combined with magical enhancing.

>BTW, the above would have to be equivalent to 26 PS to do damage.

I believe another responder put it correctly in that nature has a
strength far in excess of 25.  Also it would be better to think of
the nature of the effect and its implications instead of trying to
blunder through a direct interpretation of the rules.
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: c_king@cc.colorado.edu

The problem there is that a "regular crushing blow" from a PS 26
person/creature does D-1 damage.  That is, it does anywhere from 0
to 9 points.  A fall does damage according to the height, and is
not variable (a 10' fall always does 1 point of EN damage, a 20'
fall always does 4, etc.).  Perhaps I could apply the maximum (9),
and say that a fall doing that or more damage is enough to harm a

The same might apply towards fire, but would you consider
aggregate damage or per pulse?  (i.e., would it matter how long
the shape-changer remained in the burning environment, or only how
intense the fire is?)

>I don't remember anything in the rules stating *explicitly*
>that normal creatures breathe either, but I took it as read.

Yeah, but there's nothing in the rules saying that normal
creatures _don't_ take damage _except_ from certain sources...

>Shape-changing is not a panacea for all of life's processes...
[rest of argument deleted]

Good point.  So would you say a garrote is effective against
shape-changers in beast-form?

>I believe another responder put it correctly...

I'm not at all sure I buy the "Nature has a strength far in excess
of 25" argument.  Possible, but not certain.

I like the idea of determining the damage that would be caused,
and if it equals or exceeds that which would be caused by 26 PS,
applying a damage absorption of 5; but the difficulty lies in
determining what is equal to or in excess of PS 26...
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: jgbst8+@pitt.edu

>jgbst8+@pitt.edu writes:
>...a "regular crushing blow" from a PS 26 person/creature...

I'd use the average damage of the D10-1, so the 30' fall would
start to do damage.

>The same might apply towards fire, but would you consider...

I'd use the base damage not the aggregate.  It wouldn't matter how
long the shapechanger was in the fire, only whether it was hot
enough.  He'd probably singe off some leg hair standing in a
campfire, but not take any real damage from it.

>...a garrote is effective against shape-changers...?

A garrote still has to crush the wind-pipe to be effective, only
if use by a creature with greater than 25 strength would if be
able to even partially accomplish this feat.

>...I like the idea...if it equals or exceeds that which would be
>caused by 26 PS, applying a damage absorption of 5; but..what is
>equal to or in excess of PS 26...

Well basically anything that causes more that 5 points of EN seems
to fit the bill, except with weapons used by things with less than
25 strength.  With them doing more than 5 points its more accuracy
of placement that causes the greater damage and not brute force.
Hope this helps, its been years since I've GMed DQ so I'm just
extrapolating logical assumptions, mostly.
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: charles.summerhill@grapevine.lrk.ar.us

C>Rule [6.9] states (under Special Abilities): "3. A shape-changer
C>cannot be harmed while in animal form, unless struck by a
C>silvered weapon, magic, or by a being with a Physical Strength
C>greater than 25.  Five damage points are automatically absorbed
C>in the latter case."

C>My question is this:  How do you handle (non-magical) fire,
C>falling from great heights, drowning, and so on?  Are shape-
C>changers in animal form invulnerable to these harms, or do they
C>affect them normally?

Most of that hasn't come up (in my campaign) yet.  However I would
handle each as follows:
*Non-magical fire: immune to the effects
*Falling from great height: same as being hit by Physical Strength
greater than 25, normal damage minus 5 points.
*Drowning: tough one, I assume they have to breathe, I would rule
that drowning kills normally.

 -- Mark Sheppard  c/o (dallbutt@st.nepean.uws.edu.au)

     This formula may be useful as an alternative to the DQ rules.
It converts human stats into stats for ShapeChangers, Were-
creatures, Giants, etc.  Try it and see what you think.  I`d
be happy for comments.

Monster Stat = {[Human Stat - 5] x [Monster Stat Range / 20]}
+ Minimum Monster Stat.

Human Stat = Stat Value for a Human.
Monster Stat = The Corresponding Stat Value for the Non-Human.
Minimum Monster Stat = The minimum Stat Value listed for the
Monster Stat Range = Maximum Monster Stat - Minimum Monster
Maximum Monster Stat = The Maximum Stat Value listed for the

 -- Mark Sheppard  c/o (dallbutt@st.nepean.uws.edu.au)

 -- John F. Rauchert  (john.rauchert@sait.ab.ca)

The following was an article that I wanted to write for Dragon,
but never got around to doing. I called it RESHAPING THE SHAPE-
  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

  This revised version of the shape-changer was spawned by my
feeling that this player race was very over-powered and though
rare, just one could seriously unbalance a group.  Here we have a
character who can change form in 5-10 seconds (1 or 2 pulses), is
impervious to normal weapons when in animal form plus has the
equivalent of leather armour in any case, regenerates at an
incredible rate, and has increased resistance to magic to boot.
  What the following system does is limit how fast a shape-changer
changes, the number of times he/she can change and how long it
takes to regenerate.  A shape-changer may enter combat at night on
a full-moon and be pretty confident that any wounds resulting
thereof can be healed before the night is out, but beware fighting
in daylight.

[6.9R] A shape-changer is a separate genetic strain of human, with
the ability to change in the form of a particular animal.

  Type: The player must roll D10 to determine what type of
shape-changer his character is.

 Die    Shape-changer Type
 ---    ------------------
1 - 4     Wolf
5 - 6     Tiger
  7       Bear
8 - 9     Boar
  10      Stag

  Traits: Shape-changers are identical in appearance to humans
when not in animal form.  Shape-changers are somewhat bestial in
nature, adopting traits one might expect from an anthropomorphized
wolf, tiger, bear, boar, or stag.  There exists a love/hate
relationship between humans and shape-changers: shape-changers
possess some degree of animal magnetism but, if discovered, can
expect severe treatment at the hands of humans.  Shape-changers
are, on the whole, bitter towards humans, and are not above using
humans to their advantage.  There are very few ways to tell a
shape-changer from a human (e.g., they may be discomforted by
garlic), and these vary by shape-changer type.  Shape-changers are
a ruthless lot.

  Special Abilities:  1. A shape-changer may change from human to
animal form (or vice-versa) in one minute during daytime and 30
seconds during the nighttime.  2. A shape-changer possesses a dual
nature.  While in animal form, human inhibitions will be muted,
and while in human form, animal instincts will be dulled.  3. All
normal weapons striking a shape-changer will do half normal
damage.  Silvered weapons, magic, or weapons being wielded by a
being with a Physical Strength greater than 25 do normal damage
for that weapon.  The resultant damage is absorbed according to
the Natural Armor of the shape-changer.  4. The shape-changer will
regenerate 1 Endurance Point every 30 minutes of rest while in
animal form.  5. When changing from one form to another, the
Fatigue and Endurance levels remaining in one form is directly
proportional to those same levels in another form.  Divide the
number of points remaining by the maximum value for that
characteristic in the present form and then multiply the resultant
by the maximum value for the characteristic in the other form.  6.
When in animal form the shape-changer acts just as the animal
would, skills and spells may be restricted.  7. A shape-changer
has his own stats while in human form and revised stats while in
animal form according to the table below:

     Wolf   Tiger   Bear   Boar   Stag

PS    -4     +10     +20    +9     +8
MD    +4     +9      -3     +1     +6
AG    +4     +12     -3     +7     +9
MA     -      -       -      -      -
WP    +5     -5      -5     -8     -5
EN    +2     +7      +17    +7     +2
FT    +9     +5      +13    +5     +1
PC    +15   +13      +13    +7     +15
TMR    8      9        6     7      13
NA    3DP    3DP     4DP    4DP    3DP
PB    -8     -8      -7     -7     -3

8. A shape-changer is automatically lunar-aspected (see 7.3).  9.
A shape-changer may remain in animal form for a variable period of
time and [may make a set number of transformations] depending on
the phase of the moon (see below).

At Night: New Moon........can not shape-change
          First Quarter.....half the night [1]
          Full Moon..............all night [2]
          Last Quarter......half the night [1]

By Day:   New Moon........can not shape-change
          First Quarter.......half an hour [1]
          Full Moon...............one hour [2]
          Last Quarter........half an hour [1]

(Note: A phase of the moon is in effect from the day the phase
begins until the day before the next phase begins).

10. If a shape-changer is in animal form during the day, there is
a 1% cumulative chance for each 5 minutes he remains in animal
form that he will never be able to change back into human form.
Similarly, if the shape-changer exceeds the time limits given in
Ability 7, there is a 1% cumulative chance (per 5 minutes) of his
not being able to regain human form.  Roll up a new character, or
know an extremely powerful wizard.  11. A shape-changer will be
inconvenienced by those wards which can be used against were-
creatures.  12. A shape-changer's magic resistance is increased by
5%.  13. If a shape-changer takes the beast master skill (see 53),
he expends three-quarters the Experience Points necessary to
advance Ranks.

  A shape-changer's characteristics are not modified, though a
new set of characteristics must be generated (see Ability 5).
     Average Life Span: 55 to 65 Earth years.

 -- John F. Rauchert  (john.rauchert@sait.ab.ca)

 -- Andrew Carter  c/o (dallbutt@st.nepean.uws.edu.au)
  "This is a new Special Knowledge spell for the College of
Shaping Magics.  I would recommend that only GMs read it first to
see how much they want to reveal to potential Shape-changers.
  "How or where did the original Shape-changes come into
existence? This Ritual could answer part of the question (if a GM
decides to adopt it).  I based it loosely upon `R3: Ritual of
Becoming Undead` from `Necromantic Conjurations`.  It deals with
the actual casting of the Ritual as well as the effect on
experience multiples.  It deals with other races other than humans
being Shape-changers.  It also deals with the necessary physical
components, mainly the animal.  As always I would appreciate
feedback, good or bad.  I would like to hear any changes you
  -- ANDON THE GREAT:  Arch Ensorceler and Enchanter.


Ritual of Becoming a Shape-changer.
(The College of Shaping Magics)
R-26 {Arcane Wisdom} or R-25 {Third Edition}.

  The Adept may become a Shape-changer by employing this Ritual.
At the GM`s discretion, this Ritual may also be performed upon
another person, so long as they are present for the entire ritual.
Once he joins the ranks of the Shape-changers, he may not reverse
the effect.  Races other than Humans are only allowed to become
shape-changers after careful consideration by the GM.  The choice
of animals allowed is also the GM`s decision.
  Two concentric protective circles must be drawn by the Adept,
and the recipient must remain within the outer circle throughout
the ritual.  The Adept conducts the ceremony from the inner
circle.  The ritual takes two hours to perform. During the course
of this, an animal of the species to which the Adept wishes to be
able to turn must be present (within the inner circle).  The
Animal may be bound, but must be conscious during the entire
ritual.  As the Ritual nears its end, the Adept takes the essence
of the animal in the inner circle and places it in the recipient
in the outer.  If this is the Adept then he moves to the outer
circle and places it in himself.  Upon the completion of the
ritual the GM rolls to determine whether or not the ritual in
question was a success.  The Base Chance for this ritual is 10%
(+3 per rank).
  If the ritual is successful, the recipient becomes a Shape-
changer of the type of animal used in the ritual.  The animal must
be released after the ritual, regardless of whether or not this
was successful.  The new Shape-changer will have a strong bond
with this individual animal and will have no desire to harm it.
If it is harmed in any way, powerful Earth Adepts will probably
'feel' a mana shift and take swift justice!  At the GM's option it
can become a constant companion.  The same animal cannot be used
in further attempts to become a shape-changer.  Attempting to use
the same animal twice will result in an automatic backfire.  This
is also true of the animal if it was used previously by another
Adept with this Ritual.  There is no easy way of determining this.
The Person or Adept will NOT know if the ritual is successful for
at least a month.  No Shape-changing can occur before this until
the magic 'settles in' and the body adjusts.  Only one ritual can
be in effect each month.
  If the Ritual backfires then Lycanthropy (major curse) is
contracted.  This can not be detected or cured until it manifests
itself at the next full moon or other times as determined by the
GM.  Remember the GM keeps the roll secret, and the person will
not know what may happen with regard to success or failure until
this month is up.  Another Ritual cannot be performed until this
major curse is removed.
  A Shape-changer created this way can pass his ability on to his
children, who will have the normal 2.0 EXM.  He also now has a
change to his EXM.  Mercenaries have their EXM multiplied by 150%,
Adventurers by 200% and Heroes by 250%.  For example a human would
be 1.5 until he reached Adventurer level.  He would then have to
change to 2.0.  When he becomes a Hero it would change yet again
to 2.5.  An Elf would be 3.75, 5, and 6.25 respectively.  The GM,
of course, is free to change these.  These experience point
multiples represent the fact that the person changed by this
ritual is not wholly at home in his new body (and coincidentally
prevent this spell from disadvantaging those who have been Shape-
changers from the beginning).
  The Experience Multiple of this Ritual is 550.

 ---------------------_D_Q_ _A_R_C_H_I_V_E_-----------------------
[Archive ftp site is at: ftp.netcom.com in the pub/dr/drache
directory.  [ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/dr/drache]
Archivist and ftp Guru: Drake Stanton (drache@netcom.com)]

College of White Magics  -- Todd Coy
ARCHIVE NAME:  whitemag.Z
  From the introduction:

  "This College deals with the powers of light, and giving
reverance to them, much like The College of Black Magics deals
with the powers of darkness.  Its knowledge and some of its power
comes directly from the Light aligned Spirits and Deities. To
become a member of The College of White Magics the Adept must
align himself with the powers of Light, most often a Deity. By
following his Deity's teachings, and by following of the causes of
the powers of Light, the adept gains the powers and spells of this


  Adventurers wanted in the locale of Devil's Head Mountain.
Needed to seek out the possible lycanthrope that has been
attacking the villages of Sharen, Flaminos, Galti, and Varen.
Reward offered for the job.  No mercenaries need apply.  Contact
Shevila Mekronth, village of Sharen for more information.

###   End of DragonQuest Newsletter v2/n4 -- April 1995