Skin-changing is a form of folk-magic widely misunderstood by urban folk and more "civilized" peoples. They consider it to be kissing cousins with being a Werewolf or being possessed, which often means those accused of it will be hauled before magistrates and blamed for grave-robbings, murderers or fornication with animals. These stories have little or anything to do with the truth of Skin-changing, however.
In reality, Skin-changing is an ancient form of magic that once protected countless people as Shamans bound the spirits of great beasts to protect their people. Clad in the skins of predators and wild things, they lent aid to warriors and hunters, calling on the strength of the Animal Kingdoms to preserve the nascent territory of the Tool-Users.
Today, Skin-changing is only practiced by tribal peoples and those without a deep basis of inherited knowledge. It is not the most powerful of abilities and in many ways, the civilized people have found more useful, or at least more powerful, sources of magic. But the knowledge remains true and the art vital, even after many centuries of neglect. And should it be called upon again, the people of so-called civilization will find that the superstitions of their ancestors hold far more weight than even they who venerate the long dead would have given them credit for.
An ancient Art of folk-magic, much ridiculed by Wizards, which allows the user to take upon the form and powers of a Beast. Those who take the form of beasts like this are often called Animal Brides for the common folk stories describing Skin-changers as disguised as common animals until they take off their fur cloaks to reveal themselves to be beautiful, naked women. There is a plentiful amount of art depicting these scenes, for obvious reasons.
Become Animal Bride or Create Hide Cloak
Base DC: 5+X [X is the HD of the creature being slain]
Materials Needed: Something to draw a circle with, a skinning knife, a regular knife, a cup, wine or milk or honey (depends on the animal)
First, find the type of animal you want to be able to transform into. Then find a creature that fits your criteria.
Kill that creature. Draw a circle around.
Offer a prayer to the creature's spirit, thanking it for it's life and meat.
Skin the creature and be careful to damage the hide as little as possible. Set the hide aside. Carve out the creature's heart and eat it raw.
Follow this by anointing yourself with the creature's blood.
Then channel the creature's remaining mana out of it's body and use it to create a sympathetic bond between yourself and the hide.
Then make the hide into a cloak. If you have done it correctly, this will become a Hide Cloak for whatever animal you skinned.
Failed Ritualism Check:
1- You are possessed by the spirit of the animal you slew. Until exorcised, you act as if you were that kind of animal trapped in the body of whatever you are.
2- You fail to establish the sympathetic link. You now have a perfectly fine but non-magical cloak.
3- You fail to properly channel the animal's remaining mana. Everyone within X*10' takes Xd6 damage, save for half. X equals the animal's HD.
4- You fail to properly channel the animal's remaining mana. The animal's corpse rises as an Unbound Undead.
5- You suffer a mutation that makes you look more like the animal whose hide you are attempting to link to. Ex: Yellow eyes for a Wolf-skin, small tusks for a wild boar, etc.
6- You feel the pain the animal suffered in it's last moments. This does anywhere from 1d6 to 3d6 psychic damage, depending on how cleanly it was killed.
|by Gavin Valentine