Alternate take on "Howls at the Moon" focus

I love the idea of the Howls at the Moon focus, but its implementation is a low note for me in the overall Cypher System. There are three main issues I have with it as a focus:
1) It's not controllable until tier 2. It would be very easy to go through the entirety of tier 1 without transforming at a useful moment. Obviously the GM should try and ensure that the timing works out, but they can only do so much without it seeming contrived.
2) The choice to transform (once you have it) is a bit of a no-brainer. The language is loose enough that the only reason not to transform in combat is if human casualties are a major concern.
3) The focus provides nothing at all outside the transformation. This is obviously intended to balance the fact that the transformation is a significant buff, but it leaves the character a little bland.

Here is my alternate version, which hopefully addresses the points above... input definitely welcomed.

Tier 1: Beast Form. On five consecutive nights each month, you change into a monstrous beast for up to one hour each night. You may also attempt to change voluntarily, which is a level 5 intellect task.
In this new form, you gain either +8 to your Might Pool and +1 to your Might Edge, or +8 to your Speed Pool and +1 to your Speed Edge (player choice - once chosen, this cannot be changed).
While in beast form, you must attack the nearest creature each round, unless you make an intellect check (level 5) to act otherwise. You can’t spend Intellect points for any reason other than to try to resist attacking the nearest creature or to change to your normal form before the one-hour duration is over (a difficulty 2 task).
After you revert to your normal form, you take a –1 penalty to all rolls for one hour. If you did not kill and eat at least one substantial creature while in beast form, the penalty increases to –2 and affects all your rolls for the next twenty-four hours. Action to change back.

Tier 2: Animal instincts. Your monstrous side starts to bleed into your human form. You are trained in tracking and perception tasks. You are also trained in either might defense or speed defense (player choice).

Tier 3: Improved form. Your beast form gains a further +2 to might pool and +1 might edge, or +2 to speed pool and +1 speed edge (player choice - once chosen, this cannot be changed). The difficulties of voluntarily changing form and resisting attack the nearest creature both drop to level 3.

Tier 4: Animal cunning. You can see in the dark, in both human and beast form. You can also never be surprised and are trained in initiative tasks.

Tier 5: Animal rage. You can channel your inner beast to produce a momentary burst of strength or speed. Choose one of the following powers (once chosen, cannot be changed):
Furious strike (5 might) - Make an unarmed attack that deals six damage and throws the target a short distance.
Lightning strike (5 speed) - Make two attacks as a single action against the same opponent.

Tier 6: Perfect form. While in beast form, you either gain +2 armor or can make a short move each round and still act normally (player choice - once chosen, this cannot be changed). The difficulties of voluntarily changing form and resisting attack the nearest creature both drop to level 1 and you no longer change involuntarily at any time.


Sign In or Register to comment.