Relating to Shapeshifter powers in Ars Magica 5th edition. I'm specifically wondering how this works with Folk Witches (see Ars Magica 5th Ed. source book Hedge Magic) but it's related to all with Shapeshifter Virtue.

When a character uses their Shapeshifter power (Ars Magica 5th ed. Core book, Virtue on p. 48 and ability on p. 67), do they retain their equipment so that once they change back to human, they would be fully clothed/equipped?

I can't seem to find a rule stating either way. However, on p. 48-49 the Skinchanger virtue explicitly states that "Clothing and possessions (save the animal item) do not transform". On P. 55 there's the Lycanthrope flaw that also explicitly states that no items or clothing transform between shapes. This seems to also apply to Bjornaer magi with Heartbeast (p. 91-92) ("None of her possessions are transformed").

All the precedents seem to imply that the possessions of a character with Shapeshifter would not transform with them and that's how I'm probably going to rule it, especially for Folk Witches who knit animal skins to allow transformation (similarly to Skinchanger but using Shapeshifter Virtue instead).

However, is there a rule (in the Core book or somewhere else, maybe in an earlier edition) that explicitly clears this out?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm fairly certain there is no specific errata or rule which answers this, however it makes sense that the clothing is not transformed. \$\endgroup\$ – ironboundtome Aug 28 '18 at 0:18

Your troupe will have to decide. There is no clarification specifically for Shapeshifter that states that the character's clothes are not transformed in 5e Ars. However the four other virtues or flaws that allow transformation all do not allow clothes to change (Shapeshifter, Lycanthrope, Skinchanger, Heartbeast).

Interesting that the Grugach from Hedge Magic have a power called Give Shape (HM, p.68) which does transform the clothes with the target.

The Gurgach and Hermetic magic seem more "spell-like" and allow transformation of clothes, where the other 4x type seem more like innate abilities which do not.


You present a good case for why clothing would not be transformed, and I agree that it probably would not be for the Folk Witches who are your primary focus.

However, I would add that it is possible that clothing could be transformed, at least in the case of shapeshifting via Hermetic magic. The Muto Corpus guidelines on p132 state:

To change accouterments along with the body involves requisites. For example, you need a casting requisite of Animal for leather worn, Aquam for any liquids carried, and Terram for metal objects worn (including studs in armor). Accouterments are transformed only if they are actually being worn, not if they are just being carried in the hand. Simply put, equipment will not be transformed for one of two reasons: either because you choose not to use the casting requisites or because the storyguide rules that the equipment is not sufficiently part of the target’s worn equipment. This untransformed equipment falls to the ground.

Based on this, I might (with the troupe's agreement, of course) allow a Virtue-based, non-Hermetic shapeshifter to transform clothing if they also have magical power over the materials of that clothing in addition to their base shapeshifting ability.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.