How-To: Shifter Descs


For shapeshifter characters, setting up the descriptions can be one of the more frustrating and tedious parts of the creation process. In an attempt to minimize the pain, there are various tools available to automate default messages and desc-changing with the +shift command. Here's a point-by-point how-to:

  1. On completing chargen, check +shift/forms. This command displays the forms available to you, which are sometimes named in a slightly non-intuitive fashion; for example, Bastet will have forms such as chatro-pumonca or crinos-balam.
  2. Next, use the +shift/init command. This automatically copies to your character all the default messages, descs, and other information associated with the various forms available to you. This includes:
    • setting up the +descer (see +help descer, but we'll cover this below)
    • default descs for each form
    • default short-descs for each form (see +help look)
    • default shift messages (the message YOU see when you change to a form)
    • default oshift messages (the message OTHERS see when you change to a form)
  3. Choose one of the forms you'd like to work on first, and type 'ex me/*(form)*' - for example, ex me/*crinos-garou*. Include the asterisks; these are wildcard characters, which means you'll see all attributes on your character with 'crinos-garou' in their name.
  4. DESCGROUP.(form): This is information used by the +descer, and declares which pieces of description are associated with that particular form. In this case, the +shift/init command will have set it to (for example), 'form/crinos-garou' - the 'crinos-garou' desc in the 'form' category. It's simplest to use the default for now.
  5. DESC.FORM.(form): This is the actual @desc for this form that others see when they 'look' at your character. You'll have the default desc after using +shift/init. To change this, you may use two methods - directly, by typing &DESC.FORM.(form) me=(the new description), which sets the attribute - OR, alternatively, you can use the +descer command, +desc/make form/(form)=(desc), such as +desc/make form/crinos-garou=A huge wolf-man (etc etc). The desc you set will automatically be set when you use the +shift command for the form.
  6. SHORT-DESC-(form): This is the very brief description which will appear in the output of the +look command for your character. It's just a few quick words to remind viewers what they're seeing. This, like the desc, auto-sets with the +shift command. You can change it with &SHORT-DESC-(form) me=(brief desc).
  7. SHIFT-(form): This is the message you see when changing to the indicated form. Set with &SHIFT-(form) me=(message). This will not be prefixed by your character name. Often left as the default.
  8. OSHIFT-(form): This is the message others in the room see when you change to a form. Set with &OSHIFT-(form) me=(message). This WILL automatically be prefixed by your character name, e.g. &OSHIFT-CRINOS-GAROU me=shapeshifts into a huge wolf-man. Frequently left as the default.
  9. NAME-(form): This is not auto-set by the +shift/init command. If set, this is the name your character will automatically be changed to on shifting to the form. For example, &NAME-CRINOS-GAROU me=Harral BloodFang. If set for one form, it's best to set it for all forms, since a form without a name default simply won't change, so if 'Harral BloodFang' is normally 'Harry,' but doesn't have &NAME-HUMAN set to Harry, he'll stay Harral after shifting out of Crinos.  Note:  There is a special command, @protect, which permits you to keep multiple names (other than just your current @name and @alias) secured - make sure to use this to protect the names you use for your shapeshifted forms.  See 'help @protect.'
  10. OOCNOTES-(form): Also not auto-set, and optional. You can use this attribute to auto-declare the +oocnotes visible for each form. Like NAME-, if set for one it should be set for all, since it'll persist through +shifts otherwise. If you have no OOC notes to list for a particular form, you can set the contents to %b to render them blank (e.g., &OOCNOTES-CRINOS-GAROU me=%b).
  11. ASHIFT-(form): Also optional, and often unnecessary, the contents of this attribute should be commands to trigger on shifting to a form. It might occasionally be useful, but as name, desc, and Delirium messages are all triggered automatically by the +shift command, it usually won't be.
  12. Rinse and repeat for all +shift/forms in your list. NAME-(form) and DESC.FORM.(form) are the really important items; the rest can typically be left alone to tinker with during quiet moments.