I’m just now starting to learn the game, looking through the various assets, and… am I just completely missing the plot here? Because it kind of seems to me like tier 2 alternate forms are, at best, equivalent in strength and ability to a primary form, and tier 1 are significantly weaker. Feats are supposed to give you some kind of mechanical advantage, right? I mean this seems to me like at best an ad-hoc respec.
The thing that you’re missing here is that this does give you a kind of mechanical advantage: versatility.
Imagine that your main form is a mage, you have good Logic and Learning and you have access to a few Extraordinary Attributes to give you a decent toolbox of banes and boons. What you can’t do in this form is hold your own in a brawl or lift a boulder, so your mage learns a spell that lets them turn into a rage demon; you put your points into Might and Agility, spend your feat points on some combat boosts, and proceed to charge into battle while shifting between forms. Now you have a character who can on a moments notice switch between a casting form and a brawling form, something that you just wouldn’t have enough points to do without Alternate Form.
This isn’t the only use either. You could have a Creation cleric who has a shadow form, switching to focus on Entropy when they feel the need to be meaner. You could have a suave and charismatic engineer who dons a suit of power armor to become a superhero. You could even have a socially awkward scavenger who is becomes the life of the party when they get some alcohol in their system. All of these characters have two forms with different uses that they can switch between whenever they need to, essentially allowing them multiple characters.
You’re absolutely right that it’s like “an ad-hoc respec”, the only thing you’re missing is just how good that effect is.
Have any GMs out there allowed for multiple selections of Alternate Form feat? If so did it work out fine in terms of game balance? Any other comments?
I haven’t yet run for a player who wanted it, but the key thing to watch out for if you do is too much versatility.
If they want 5 slightly different combat forms, that’s completely fine. If they want a combat form and a support form and a social form, then that can cause problems with them overshadowing the rest of the party. It makes the other PCs feel less special if the shapeshifter can do the job of 3 of them (albeit, not at the same time).
i ran a game where a player had a balanced form (base), a melee form, and a magic form, the idea being that he was possessed by multiple spirits with different abilities and personalities.
now since he had the versatility of a swiss army knife I said i would allow it on one condition, that these spirits had to fight for control.
this is how i did it, he could allow a spirit to take control whale in his base form but had to roll (will vs will) to regine control the idea being that they had to force there way into his body whale one of the spirits was trying to stay in control, so he was esenshily rolling against himself.
so i would randomly ask him to roll dice, when my roll surpassed his I would flip a coin to determine witch spirit would takeover, i would do the same thing if something conflicted with one of the spirits personalities. (just without the coin flip)
the result, the funniest conversations ever and a restriction on when he could switch forms.