#iHunt: Can I Play A Catgirl?

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Have you gotten your copy of #iHunt yet?

Okay this is a weird question, right?

Or is it?

I’ve now had a few people ask a variation on this question. “Olivia, can I play an anime catgirl in #iHunt?”

To which the answer is… well it wasn’t designed with that in mind, but you totally can and the game supports it mechanically.

Lana, protagonist of the #iHunt novels, with a frustrated look on her face, wearing cat ears. In the background there’s a woman’s legs wearing rainbow striped socks.

This whole thing… isn’t for me. I don’t get it. It doesn’t appeal to me. But that’s okay! #iHunt is an inclusive game first and foremost, so if that’s your thing, I want to be supportive and welcoming.

So, the default assumption is that the characters in #iHunt are regular, working class people who hunt monsters to make ends meet. But, like, at your table, you can twist and turn those expectations as you see fit. If you want to play in a world where you’re playing anthropomorphic animals or anime catgirls or batgirls or raccoonboys or whatever, there’s nothing at all stopping you.

The thing is, the game doesn’t ask any questions or answer any questions about what a world with those types of characters would be like. So, that’s up to you to decide. In fact, here’s the two tools I’d use to do so:

Motif Aspects

Motif Aspects are an important way we set the mood in #iHunt. They’re overarching descriptors of the game as a whole. When you start play—Actually, let me refer to the book.

Motif aspects are constants, they’re statements about the story you’re telling. While the world of #iHunt has some common threads, every #iHunt story is different, and motif aspects let your group decide upon these things. 

The important thing to note about motif aspects is that they never go away. They can always be invoked, compeled, or otherwise engaged. The idea is, with a universal narrative constant in the form of a motif aspect, you can ensure some common threads within the story will recur frequently. 

When starting play, the group should agree upon an overarching motif aspect. Write it down. Keep it close to your hearts. Also, individual episode arcs can have their own motif aspects. If you use episode motif aspects, there will be two motif aspects in play at any given time. 

So, you can absolutely use a motif aspect to hit home with alternative thematic elements. One of the defaults, for example, is “I’m Not Saying It Was Aliens.” That says a lot about the game you’ll be playing. But, what if you use “Cat Girls Save The World?” That instantly becomes a sort of mission statement for the story ahead. Huge thing tackled super quickly and simply.

The Shapechanging Feature

When making monsters, you define them with three special game traits. They’re called Features, Gifts, and Banes. Features are inherent parts of what make the monster. Gifts are powers they have to activate. Banes are weaknesses the hunters can exploit. Each Feature and Gift has an associated Refresh cost. Refresh determines the amount of Fate Points you start with, so monsters tend to have fewer Fate Points.

By default, players aren’t expected to take these traits, because they’re meant for monsters. However, there’s nothing at all stopping you from allowing them at your table. In fact, it’s briefly mentioned that you can, if you’re willing to bear the weight of figuring out what that means in your world.

The one trait that matters here though is the Feature called Shapechanging. The basic form of it has a 0-cost. That means that if you want to use it to play a quirky monstergirl, knock yourself out! It’s free! If you want to buy special abilities associated with those different features, that’s when you want to spend Refresh. Let me quote the exact text.

This feature allows a monster to change its physical shape. Unlike Masking, above, this is an actual change in form, and not an illusion. This is a signature feature of werewolves and other animal shifters. It’s also common in demons. It doesn’t have a default form—every version is a variant. When taking shapechanging, determine one or two character aspects which change in the new shape, and what they change to. Different variants also add features which are only applicable in that form. Any other game rule changes should  be reflected by buying other features, such as the Conditional variant on the Inhuman Potency feature, above, or Sensory Goodness.

Unless otherwise noted, shapechanging does not cost essence, but takes an action (but no roll) to complete.

The “free” version of this Feature assumes the monster has a “true” form and a “human” form. This is very common, and usually has a specific set of rules around it. Like, for example, demons must reveal themselves when they hear their true name. 

Modifiers:

Animal Form: A creature with this variant can change into an animal. Depending on the animal in question, this can include the Flying, Fast as ShitNatural Weapon, and Unholy Armor features. Cost +2

Conditional Shifting: This is a variant on other shapeshifting features. It means the creature’s shifting is tied to a circumstance, like the full moon, or when hungry. When that condition is met, the creature must shapeshift. Cost -1

Mimicry: The creature can emulate anyone it’s touched. Unlike the Masking feature above, this is a physical change. It doesn’t confer any illusions as to a person’s behavior or mannerisms, so the creature must act particularly well to not seem as if something is “off.” Cost +2

Mist Form: The creature can shapeshift into an intangible form which is immune to physical harm except from specific banes. Usually this is a misty or ghost-like form, but can be fire, smoke, or other manifestations. Cost +3

Monstrous Form: The monster has a form that’s truly horrendous, usually large, dangerous, and awful. Werewolves have this form, as well as many demons. It confers the Natural Weapon, Rage Face, and Unholy Armor features. Additionally, the first time a human witnesses that specific type of monstrous form, the monster can make a free mental attack against them. Cost +5

Swarm Form: The creature takes the form of a swarm of insects, bats, rats, or other tiny things. Outside of area effects like fire, or specific banes, the monster takes no more than 1 harm from an attack. As well, this confers the Flying or Fast as Fuck features. Cost +3.

So as you can see, you can absolutely have cute ears and a tail or whatever, and it’s completely free by the default rules.

This is a super minor hack you can use to completely upend one of the basic assumptions of the game. I hope this helps spark your imagination to make #iHunt #YourHunt.

Caveat: No Nazi furs allowed. Or, as the book says: