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Obviously it normally takes an spellcasting action to use Shape Change (Savage Worlds Deluxe EE, p. 115) to shift into animal form, but the description says nothing about how shifting back to normal form works.

I once had a player who wanted to shift out of crow form and make an attack in the same round, while the Shape Change was still within the 10-round (1-minute) duration. At the time I ruled that they could will the Power to end early but it would impose the multi-action penalty to the attack. Re-reading that old session report I'm not so sure I'd make the same ruling now, but I never figured out what the intended behaviour is. I'm going to be running SW again soon, so I've been going back and trying to learn from my early mistakes.

Does it take an action to return to normal form from a Shape Change?

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3 Answers 3

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This is a GM call.

Dropping most powers I would rule as a free action. Shape Change I would rule as an action because of the bodily change. If the player was taking an action in the same round that would be feasible for both forms I might allow it, but at a multi-action-penalty as you did. Remember also that the weapons and personal effects of the character get bundled up into his/her transformed state, so they need to reappear too.

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This was my original ruling's reasoning exactly: that it was similar to drawing a weapon and attacking with it in the same round. What I'm starting to think is "the fiction of how the magic works answers the question." So we were confused because we didn't define our trappings properly. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 29 '13 at 15:05
    
The specific trapping may come in play here. –  sergut Jun 17 '13 at 14:02

Savage Worlds Deluxe doesn't explicitly state what happens, but it does say that a maintained power can be disrupted (i.e. involuntarily ended) if the character takes damage and then fails an arcane skill roll with a TN of the damage received:

A character who is actively maintaining a power may be disrupted if he suffers damage. To maintain concentration for all of his powers, the hero makes one opposed arcane skill roll versus the damage he suffered. If his roll is higher, he maintains all of his spells. If he fails, he instantly drops all of his powers after the attack that caused the disruption is resolved.

Note that involuntarily dropping a power in this way does not result in an action being consumed on the character's next turn. Thus it makes sense that voluntarily dropping the power would also not consume an action.

It's also worth noting that in general maintaining a power is a free action, and it would be strange that dropping a power would be more difficult than actively maintaining it.

Some powers may be maintained, as listed in the power’s Duration description. This is a free action.

Given all this, I see no reason that a non-maintained power (i.e. one that has an initial duration that has not yet expired) could not be ended early as a free action.

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I can't really agree to the reasoning that voluntary actions are necessarily as effortless as involuntary effects on you (compare jumping over a chasm to being thrown over it), but the comparison to maintaining and ending a power I can wrap my head around, in the face of nothing more explicit. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 27 '13 at 23:18
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Well, since maintaining spells "requires concentration" per the rules description, I figure not concentrating is easier than concentrating. –  Thunderforge Apr 27 '13 at 23:39
    
I would agree that not maintaining a power is a free action, as is failing to keep concentration when hurt. However, stopping a power explicitly and voluntarily seems to me like a sort of action. –  sergut Jun 17 '13 at 14:00

As already mentioned, nothing is explicited stated on the subject.

Personally, I think voluntarily dropping a power before its duration expired fits the criteria of a Free Action. Among the examples of a Free Action given in the Core Book are Dropping Prone and dropping an item. IMO voluntarily dropping the maintenance of a spell is the mental equivalent of these actions.

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Among the examples of a Free Action given in the Core Book are Dropping Prone and dropping an item. IMO voluntarily dropping the maintenance of a spell is the mental equivalent of these actions. –  Sitting Duck Apr 30 '13 at 13:53

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