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How to remember the five rules of good shapeshifting

****Why five rules, you might ask? Why not? There is clearly more than one rule, and nobody has the patience to go through and read nine rules (being more concerned with getting the shapeshifting all over and done with), so how about splitting the difference and saying that we have five then? All right? Fine, then.

On to the rules.

*Evil plotpoints

  1. Clothes. Humans always focus on the clothes thing, for some reason. Yes, once you shape shift, you are almost certainly going to have to doff your things, either because you became something smaller than a human (see the snake in the picture) or something larger (say a grizzly bear), and they just won't fit and will get in the way. So think ahead and have a place to put the things, and when you are done, a place you can return to in order to put them back on. And if you are shapeshifting in broad daylight, so to speak, try to make that place where a naked person might not attract too much untoward attention, say a Spencer Tunick installation (external link) or something. Note to newcomers to New York City: all those phone booths you saw on TV and in the movies, they aren't there any more. No more phone booths, people! Maybe you want a nice secluded ATM enclosure instead or something.
  2. Conservation of mass. It is a law of nature (external link), not just something you can properly handwave away, so make sure that you have thought through where you're going to put those excess kilos (again, shifting into a little creature) or grab some to increase your mass (going large), say an extra space-time dimension somewhere where nobody's paying close attention to things coming and going, or maybe a large body of seawater. You don't even want to think about the alternative (a 180 pound weasel anyone? I do not see it.) Think of it as being like a library book you have to remember to return and you should be fine.
  3. Pack a lunch. If you are planning to spend a considerable amount of time shifted, remember that you will have to attend to all the biological needs of your new shape. Insectivore? Better bring some freeze-dried crickets or a mealworm package, rather than counting on some kind of prey stumbling by, or your developing the requisite skills to nab such prey. Typically you are going to be exerting yourself somewhat while shapeshifted and will be looking for the pick-me-up a snack will bestow.
  4. Denying copycats their due. If you are just altering your form to do a bit of stealthy reconnaissance or something it doesn't matter as much as if you are hoping to make a statement in your new form, say by terrorizing a small city, but there have been cases where villains have been inconvenienced by other shapeshifters passing their exploits off as yours, thus pinning the blame (or credit) unjustly. It is no use protesting to the press that you are the real mastodon spreading terror and that some other guy also shapeshifting into a mastodon form has ruined your credibility by allying with the authorities, watering the tulips in front of the Public Library, or making off with females of questionable motivations: you will still end up being pinned with some of the fallout. So try branding yourself as best you can, perhaps wearing your personal insignia around your neck like this guy (external link), or maybe you could have your log shaved into the fur of your massive haunches. Even a quickie dye job might do in a pinch.
  5. Mind your place. If you encounter other members of your target species, even if you do a wonderful job on the form itself, you must recall that there are specific behaviors and pheromone signals that will be very difficult to "sell" to a native as being genuine. It could be something as simple as a strange human-like gait that will put them off. This applies with special emphasis in cases of contemplated sexual congress with those native members of the target species — by all accounts, these things just do not turn out well for anyone involved.

Venetian Werewolf

! Strokes of genius

  • Join the community. Whether you are starting out as a shapeshifter or are a well established one with many cycles of experience, you can benefit from involvement with your fellow polymorphs. You may have questions regarding certain drives and fears and may be able to pick up tips on passing among the general population if you so desire. By the same token, you can share your own tales with a sympathetic like-minded audience who may have unique insights on what makes you tick.
  • Groupies. Certain mortals are strongly drawn to shapeshifters, seeking them out even at their own bodily peril. The attention is undeniably flattering, and there can be other perquisites that go along with the fandom. The mystique is a fragile thing, easily shattered by too much first-hand information about the details of the shapeshifting experience, so it may be advisable to keep the lights low and the cameraphones distant whenever possible.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Needless vulnerabilities. Because being able to transform oneself is potentially a power that can bestow commanding advantages to a villain, it has been traditional to impose certain weaknesses on the individual for the sake of balance. In many cases it has been shown that the common phobias shapeshifters suffer from have psychosomatic origins and can be lessened or eliminated through talk therapy. In other cases, there are aversions and ritualistic behavior amenable to cognitive-behavioral treatment.
  • Ignoring limitations. Some shapechangers feel a considerable pressure to mold themselves to suit the expectations imposed by their environment, including that of voluntary control over the transformation process. This is not always realistic, depending on the type of creature in question, and can lead to needless anxiety.
  • The Hollywood ideal.
  • The Evil Eye.
  • Werefleas.


+ Precious and needful

  • Spandex.
  • Portable space-time portal.
  • Energy bars.
  • Breath mints.

Further plotting

Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Thursday 10 of February, 2011 06:34:05 EST by Veeper.

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