Animal spirits and other shapeshifters have physical traits that resemble normal creatures of their race, yet possess gifts and intelligence far beyond such creatures. Many of these spirits also have fantastical abilities to alter their own form to fit the needs of the moment. Some races have better control of their bodies than others and are able to access greater powers and abilities.
A shapeshifter may choose a number of Abilities from the list that follows. The table shows how many abilities each race of Shapeshifters can potentially take and whether they can take Major Abilities or only Minor Abilities. However, every Shapeshifter is subject to laws and restrictions in order to gain access to its power. For each Ability the Shapeshifter must also choose a Minor or Major Penalty – a Minor Ability can be compensated with a Minor or Major Penalty, but a Major Ability always requires a Major Penalty. If a Shapeshifter ever breaks any of the rules set by its Penalties, it immediately loses all the benefi ts of its Shapeshifter Abilities until the next sunrise.

Minor Shapeshifter Abilities

  • Animal Empathy: You understand the chittering of natural animals. You may not speak their languages yourself, however, as most animals simply are not smart enough to understand what you are attempting to say.
  • As the Fish: You may breathe underwater, and swim as fast as your normal walking speed.
  • Eyes of the Owl: You may see as well in the darkness of night as in the light of the sun.
  • Humanity: You may turn human for one full day (until the next sunrise). During this time you gain a Void Ring of 3 and may spend Void Points. You may choose to use this ability consecutively without reverting to your normal form; if you do so for at least one year and one day, you lose your shapeshifting abilities permanently, becoming entirely mortal.
  • Flight: You gain the ability to fl y. While flying you gain Swift 1.
  • Legendary Healing: Once per skirmish, you may knit the wounds in your body as a Complex Action, healing 2k1 Wounds.
  • Mimic: You may alter your form to another form as a Complex Action. The new form must be roughly the same size but otherwise may be anything you wish; however, while your body changes to fit your new form, your stats do not change. The new form only lasts for five minutes; if you use this ability in battle, the form lasts for five Rounds.
  • A Panther’s Moves: You blend in with your surroundings without a thought. You gain a +3k0 bonus to all Stealth rolls.
  • Piercing Howl: Once per skirmish, you may emit an ear-shattering howl as a Complex Action; this creates a Fear 2 effect on every character within 10’ of you.
  • Speaker of the Dead: You understand the words spoken by the creatures and monsters of the other Spirit Realms. You may not speak their languages yourself, and most malevolent monsters will ignore your words outright.

Major Shapeshifter Abilities

  • Bound by the Heavens: You believe in the truth behind your words. You will move the sun and moon to follow every promise you make to the letter. Three times a day, you gain a +1k1 bonus on any single roll while directly following a promise. Unfortunately, if you ever perform actions that would violate either the letter or the spirit of your promise, you suffer a -1k1 penalty on all rolls until the next sunrise.
  • Ephemeral Form: Once per day, you may choose to make your body insubstantial. This lasts 10 Rounds and during this time you may pass through other physical objects with ease. This ability only applies to yourself and any non-living objects you are holding or wearing.
  • Possession: Once per day, you may leave your body behind and attempt to enter another person. This is a Complex Action and requires a Contested Willpower roll. If your target fails, you inhabit the target’s mind and control his actions until the next sunrise (when you are expelled from his body). You may not compel your victim to perform actions that would harm him or his loved ones.
  • Protection of Tengoku: You gain Partial Invulnerability; you are Invulnerable to all mundane weapons.
  • Protection of Yomi: You gain Reduction 5. This is not cumulative with any forms of armor, though it does stack with other natural sources of Reduction (such as racial benefi ts or School Techniques).
  • Speed of a Predator: You gain Swift 2.
  • Strength of Jade: You are imbued with the power of eternal jade. Your attacks may ignore Invulnerability as if you are using a weapon of jade, but such attacks suffer a -2k0 penalty on the damage roll.

Minor Shapeshifter Penalties

  • You cannot drink alcohol.
  • You cannot cross running water.
  • You cannot eat meat of any kind.
  • You must always dress in the colors of your natural form.
  • Your shadow always reveals your true form.
  • You cannot bathe.
  • You cannot lie.
  • You cannot answer any question with a straight answer; instead, you must answer with another question.
  • You cannot wear clothes other than the bare minimum to cover your modesty.

Major Shapeshifter Penalties

  • You cannot be the target of any elemental spell. If you are an involuntary subject of a spell, you cannot use one of your Shapeshifter abilities until the next sunrise (instead of all).
  • You cannot kill another living being.
  • You cannot enter a shrine or temple.
  • You cannot allow a human to touch you.
  • You cannot tell anyone your true nature or your true name.
  • You may not speak.
  • You may never touch an item created by humans.
  • You must marry a worthy human within one year and treat your spouse with loyalty and respect. If your spouse proves unworthy of being by your side, you must return to your own Realm and never come back to Ningen-do.