Acquire: You have the ability to absorb the DNA of other living creatures. You can touch a willing creature, or a creature that has been incapacitated or restrained, and absorb a copy of their DNA into your body. You cannot ‘acquire’ a morph directly from another person’s morph or acquire a morph while you are in a morph. This process takes a minute to complete and you must maintain contact with the creature being acquired the entire time. Most creatures being acquired become calm and docile for the duration of the process. Action to initiate.
Morph (2+ Might Points): You have the ability to assume the form of any creature you have absorbed the DNA of with your acquire ability. You are a perfect duplicate of this creature at the time you acquired it, but lack any alteration to that creature’s anatomy not due to genetics or natural physiological changes such as age. For example you possess any limbs the creature may have lost due to injury, but lack artificial markings such as tattoos or piercings. Though you do share the benefits of minor alterations such as hair length or antler growth. The following are general rules and effect of morphing:
- You can only safely stay morphed for up to two hours at a time. If you exceed this time limit you become permanently trapped in your current form. Loosing the ability to acquire DNA or morph. Additionally, you can not be granted these lost ability again through the use of an Escafil Device.
- You gain the Thought-Speak ability while morphed, and can use it to communicate even if your new form would not normally be capable of verbal communication. You retain this ability even if you become Nothlit
- You gain any abilities associated with the creature you become that are derived from that creature’s physiology. For example, if you turn into a leopard, you become specialized in climbing, trained in seeing in low light conditions and checks related to scent, and gain sharp claws. If you turn into a turtle you gain armor 1, training in swimming, and gain Hold Breath (149)
- When morphing any clothing or other equipment on your person, not suitable or appropriately sized to your new form, fall to the ground. Skin tight clothing is absorbed into your new form. Even a form is damaged while you are morphed, that damage will be gone the next time you take on that form. Similarly demorphing restores your natural form, repairing or regrowing limbs and organs, sealing wounds, curing diseases, purging poisons ect. Morphing or demorphing restores 1 point to any pool that is empty.
- Morphing directly from one morph to another is normally a difficulty 13 Intellect task, and requires spending a level of effort to even attempt.
- When taking on a new form, if that form has strong instincts (subject to GM discretion) you must make an Intellect defense roll with a level equal to that of the creature you have morphed into. If you fail you begin immediately acting normally for a creature of that type. You can reroll this task as an action by expending a level of effort. Even if you succeed, the form’s natural instincts often color your thoughts and perceptions in small but noticeable ways.
- If your form lacks hands or other graphing appendages such as tentacles, all tasks requiring such appendages are hindered by at least 2 steps.
- You lose access to most abilities related to your natural form, that are physiological in nature, while morphed. For example an Andalite character with the focus “Bears A Halo of Fire” would lose access to their focus abilities, eye stalks, ect. while in the form of a rabbit.
- You can still move and take actions while in the process of morphing or demorphing. All actions taken while in the process of morphing are hindered by two steps, and you speed is reduced to one quarter.
- Morphing can be paused or reversed mid transformation. While pausing a morph does not require an action, completing a paused morph takes the amount of time remaining before it was paused, and reversing a morph takes the amount of time that has already elapsed in the process. A partially morphed creature is still at risk of becoming a “Nothlit” trapped in their transitional state.
Morphing is a physically tiring process, the Might cost to morph increases by 1 for each previous use of this ability in a 24 hour period. Morphing into another creature, or demorphing into your natural form, takes 3 minutes. Demorphing does not require spending additional points from your Might pool. In addition to the normal options for using Effort, you can choose to use Effort to reduce the time required to morph or demorph; each level of Effort reduces the time by 15 seconds to a minimum of 30 seconds. Action to morph or demorph.
Thought-Speak: You can speak mentally with other creatures within long distance. This communication is one-way, though other creatures can respond to you though-speak, verbally, or with other means of communication available to them. When using this ability you can choose for your mental “voice” to be heard by all creatures within range or only by select targets. You don’t have to see a target creature, but if they are out of range they won’t hear you. Creature’s capable of understanding speech generally understand you when you speak in this way as if you were speaking a language known to them. You have a uniquely identifiable mental “voice” when using thought-speak. Enabler.
GM Intrusion: Some individuals are “allergic” to the DNA of certain life forms. The result in their body under going random morphing and ultimately ejecting the unwanted DNA in the form of a copy of the creature in question. This also removes that creature from a character’s list of available morphs and prevents them from re-acquiring a creature of that type in the future.
- Many forms available to players are likely to be smaller or larger than their natural form. Similarly, some creatures are known for having exceptional physical strength, great endurance, or unique weakness. When determining the difficulty of such tasks, you should consider the normal difficulty for a creature of that player’s current form. For example, pulling a decent sized tree out of the ground through sheer brute force is likely an Impossible task for a normal human, but might only be a Standard task for Brontosaurus. Comparably, while an out of shape human might struggle with a slow jog, while morphed into a horse such a task should be far easier.
- GMs of Animorphs games should show some care in adjudicating what forms are available to their players. While above article I do detail a GMI that could be used to remove a troublesome morph, it should be used sparingly. While character should have the ability to acquire “combat morphs” most of the forms the would have access to should be more mundane (domesticated animals, other humans, common insects, ect.
- In an Animorphs game that incorporates special abilities(including magic) it is recommended to assume that those abilities are physiological in nature and are lost while morphed. The same is normally true for abilities gained from a species descriptor.
- The morph ability is far more wordy the Cypher System generally likes, but the goal here was replication.