Shapeshifters Errata & FAQ

After Shapeshifters was published, we discovered some problems in the rules (mostly in the section on hiding, for some reason), and a number of places where the rules as written were less clear than we had thought. The following is the complete, up-to-date errata as of Spring 1995.

There are four types of errata listed here. "Clarification" rephrases a rule that was ambiguous or poorly written. "Correction" fixes something that was just wrong. "Addition" is a new rule that we added, usually to cover a situation that never came up in playtest. "Rules Change" overrides or replaces something in the original rules.


[addition] A useful tradition was developed in tournament play: When players have decided their transformations, they hold their fist out, thumb up (as if signaling "OK"). That way the whole table knows when everyone is ready. As with writing down your transformations (versus the honor system), use this or not as the group prefers.

(2.6) Errors in judgment [addition] Wizards who do not transform in a turn but cannot pay for their current form lose all their spell points and become the node creature for the kingdom they are in. If they are in a one-node kingdom (like the Griffin), they become the node creature for their home kingdom (e.g., a fishman would become a Fish).


[correction] The sentence that begins "Creatures with two modes..." at the bottom of page 5 should read: "Creatures with two modes have two movement ratings, but may only use one mode per turn. For example, a wolf could not run two hexes to a river bank and then swim across in the same phase." Note that the wizard needn't decide which mode to use until the end of the transformation phase. And remember that a creature with air movement who starts on the land stays there until the wizard's movement phase, per 4.12.

[clarification] A wizard cannot enter a hex without having the right movement mode; e.g., a bison cannot move into the lake. (This might seem obvious but has been the downfall of more than one tournament player.) However, you can start out in the wrong mode for the hex you're in, and then move into the right sort of hex. Thus, a fish in the lake can move to the lake's edge, change to a bison, and then walk out onto land. Similarly, you may to change into a large land creature in the marsh, even though you cannot then move into another marsh hex.

(4.12) Changing Modes [RULE CHANGE] Wizards who change into a form with air movement from a swimming or diving form are treated as swimming until their phase. (They float to the top before taking off.)

(4.13) Improper Elements [clarification] The out-of-element penalty applies only to diving creatures on land or land creatures in the water, i.e., creatures that are drowning or choking to death. (This is for you, Lars.)

(5.0) COMBAT

[clarification] During the counter-attack segment, wizards may only attack the phasing wizard. They may not use spells or attack non-phasing wizards.

(5.11) Charge Attack [correction] A charge attack means two hexes of straight-line movement before entering the target hex, so really it's three hexes in a row.

(5.12) Fire [addition] The salamander and dragon do not lose their counter-attacks when attacked by fire.

(5.12) Fire [clarification] Dragons may not damage targets in the water in any way. This includes both swimming and diving ones. A dragon may not use its ranged attack to hit its own hex; therefore, a dragon attacking something in its own hex may always be counter-attacked.

(6.0) HIDING

RULE CHANGE There is an additional -1 modifier for a preemptive hide. (This change is to correct a game balance problem.) Remember that preemptively hiding wizards lose their entire phase, including their counterattack segment.

RULE CHANGE Creatures with a "0" movement value cannot preemptive hide. Yes, an oak tree can hide in the middle of an open field. However, note that the above rule change means that a hiding oak tree has managed somehow to get initiative on you, so you sort of deserve whatever happens.

RULE CHANGE Hiding creatures lose their hide status if successfully pounced upon.

RULE CHANGE Hide counters go away at the beginning of the next turn, not at the start of a hiding creature's next phase.

[clarification] Wizards preemptively hiding lose their entire next phase; they may not move or attack, and cannot be counter-attacked. A good way to mark this is to remove the wizard's initiative counter from the track.

[clarification] A hiding wizard may not counter-attack unless successfully pounced upon, in which case the wizard may stop hiding and counter-attack normally.

[clarification] Wizards cannot fly, land, and then hide. A wizard who uses any flight movement at all cannot hide that turn.

(6.2) Fire vs. Hide [correction] The dragon can only attack one target at a time. This paragraph should read as follows: "When the dragon attacks a hiding creature, roll 1D6. The target is hit on a roll of 1-5; creatures with hide ability add 2 to the roll. Resolve damage normally if the creature is hit."

(7.0) SPELLS

[clarification] Only one spell is allowed per turn, though conjured weapons don't count as spells after their creation.

Fly [clarification]The Fly spell is cast during the movement phase, and replaces normal movement. Combat is unaffected -- but casting a fly spell nonetheless prevents you from casting another spell during your combat phase. You can swoop down and attack normally, however, and magic weapons are OK.


(8.1) The Duel [correction] The reference to "map 4" only made sense in the pre-production version of the map. The bend in question is the lower one, closest to the southeast map edge.

Production Errors

Michael Yee was left off the credit page. He designed the logo.

There are no force wall counters, despite (7.4), so either delete the reference to them from the spell description or make some from the blank counters provided with the game.

Shapeshifters FAQ

Do you plan on releasing any sequels or supplements?

No, not really.

How about a Shapeshifters RPG?

This has come up, and our response is, "Well, why?" What would players do in a Shapeshifters RPG? (Besides beat the snot out of each other, which the board game adequately handles.) Also, it seems a shame to bog down such a simple system with extra rules baggage. But nothing should stop you from adapting our transformation system to your favorite RPG ...

Why do the Griffin and Pterodactyl have land movement?

So they can move on land. Sometimes it's safer to use land movement than to fly, since airborne creatures cannot hide. Also, the decision to fly or not can wait until the wizard's phase.

The Moa seems pointless. And what about that Badger?

While the Moa may not be the most useful creature in the game, it's the only land-based animal in the bird kingdom. If you compare the point costs for Moa and Eagle, you'll see that a lot of what you pay for with the Eagle is flight movement. The Moa lets you change into a relatively cheap land creature without changing nodes out of the bird kingdom.

As for the Badger, well, there was that one convention tournament with a no-magic "dead zone" where the entire table was running around as Badgers ...

Can you counter-attack a web?

No, since you can only counter-attack the phasing wizard.

Can you counter-attack a hiding person?

Yes, if it is their phase. Note that wizards performing preemptive hides lose their entire phase, so they cannot be counter-attacked.

When a flyer is webbed, what happens?

They must land immediately; use an "on land" counter.

Are counterattacks and normal attacks simultaneous?

Not in the rules. We like to play that way in tournaments, since it allows for death blows. Just agree before hand which rule you're using ...

Why don't swimmers on land or flyers in the water get a combat penalty from being in the wrong element?

The improper element rules reflect the disadvantage of not being able to breathe in the other element, not the awkwardness of being in an inappropriate form for that element. That's why section 4.13 refers only to non-swimming land creatures and dive creatures; the non-swimmers sink in water and the diving creatures founder about on land. Flyers and swimmers can handle themselves in the wrong element for a short time. Note that a bat materializing under water is assumed to float to the top immediately, and a fish materializing in air immediately falls into the water.

Shouldn't wizards attacking creatures who are out of their element have a plus to hit them?

True, creatures out of element should probably have a negative to defense as well as offense. But they're in enough trouble as it is, and further penalties would eliminate the out-of-element maneuver as a viable emergency strategy.

You should have included "fly" counters to go on wizards who are using the Fly spell.

Yeah, probably there should be a "fly" counter, to go along with the "on land" and "diving" counters. We find that most people don't use all the record-keeping counters anyway, preferring to keep it in their heads.

Can a dragon counterattack at range if it is attacked at range by another dragon?

No. Rule 5.12 states that a dragon cannot counterattack at range.

Can an oak tree hide in a field hex?

Yes. We know that sounds silly, but it plays well. Each turn is only 5 seconds long, so the idea is that the other wizard is standing around going "Waitaminit -- was that tree always there?" Similarly, an oak tree gets no special bonus to hide in the middle of the forest. We figure that's because it's actually a coniferous forest or something like that.

Can a hiding wizard cast spells?

No. Casting spells and hiding are both done instead of attacks, so no spells may be cast if the wizard is hiding. (Fly would work, since it's a movement spell, but you can't hide in the air anyway.)

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