Priests only. Inspired by the Animal schtick by Garry Handelman. (Also need to include the appropriate ones from Fertility.)
Life is like Blast in that you have particular special effects you can buy— start with two. Each special effect is a particular (need the next taxonomical category up from species) of animal: “rats”, “hawks”, “salamanders”, “bass”, “bees”, “oaks”, “yeasts” and “gems” are fine. Each effect is in a category (mammal, bird, reptile, fish, insect, plant, unicellular, rock), and some powers work with the category rather than the specific animal. Communication and Fertility effects work with the category; summoning and shapeshifting work with the specific animal. (Summoning also works with close relatives of the specific animal, though at increasing penalties as you get further from the species: if you have a schtick in “housecats”, you can summon lions and tigers, but not as well as you could housecats.)
You may buy additional animals for 3 experience each, as per buying new special effects in the Magic section of the Feng Shui rules.
Backlash with life varies with the special effect you were using. Shapeshifting can go horribly awry, communication can deafen you with the cacophany of the natural world.
Communication. You can communicate with any animal in a category you have, and speak their language fluently. Add your Theurgy skill to your Charisma for purposes of dealing with them. The animals like you and will not attack you without provocation. However, your character feels obliged to protect his animal friends as well, the GM may enforce this compulsion on you. This does work on Transformed Animals unless and until they figure out you’re a sorcerer at which time they probably become enraged— you do not feel the need to protect transformed animals. With Influence, you can also Influence animals and train them to an unusual degree. (TotL.) The difficulty is normally 10.
Germination. Improves fertility: seeds sprout in bad conditions, animals have bigger litters...
Growth. Difficulty n = n×5% growth in a 5m radius to increase plant size and animal yield (milk production, etc.).
Influence Animals. You can add your Outcome to any Charisma-based skills when interacting with animals. The difficulty is normally 12.
Locate Animals. (T3.) You can sense the presence of animals within a hundred meters times your Sorcery action value. You only know that they are present until you can see them, whereupon you can sense their health and general well-being. Sensing a transformed or otherwise magically aware animal in this fashion requires a Sorcery check against their Willpower, and must be done subtly, or they will sense your scrying.
Shift Shape. You can take on the shape of one of your specific special effects for an indefinite period. This costs an attunement point each time you shift. Your clothes, weapons and other gear shift with you. You cannot speak and may lack manipulative digits while in animal form. Your attributes change as per GM discretion, a few common animals are listed. Attributes may be reduced to or below 0 in perfect safety. Adjust your skills, such as you can still use, along with your attributes while shapeshifted. You may not use your Charisma on humans, or your Dexterity on weapons. You may not use Sorcery in animal form, except to switch back. Any other modifications your GM feels are sensible also apply, such as appropriate abilities (a scorpions deadly poison, for example) or disabilities at GMs discretion. You do not get any transformed animal powers. You may transform into anything in size from a bear to a cat; anything larger cannot be done with Life I, and anything smaller requires you turn into a swarm. Changing into an animal is a ten shot action, changing back is a 1 shot action.
Summon Animals. If in an area that naturally includes members of your animal species, you may summon them. The difficulty depends on their scarcity.
A number of animals appear equal to the Outcome. (Packs tend to arrive at once; solitary ones start showing up one at a time.) You can then appeal to them for aid. You cannot control them. The animals will have to get to you normally (GM discretion). If you summon animals needlessly, they may be angered, but they will inherently like you (see Communication, above). On a backlash, you turn into one of the animals and go and try and find them. When you do find them, you come to your senses and turn back. Transformed animals of the type you are summoning are unaffected, but will notice the summons.
Sustenance. Spend a magic point and roll; the Action Result divided by three is the number of human-sized people (with healthy but not extraordinary appetites) you can feed. The special effects on this vary greatly. A theurgist wielding the powers of nature might grow fruit out of season or cause an animal to wander into a trap, while a follower of a god of revelry might cause rich food and intoxicating drink to appear from nowhere, and a follower of a god of cooking might need to carefully detail the process of cooking— and would receive precisely what they had specified. Some methods may simply provide nutrition without a need for eating. Sustenance works without relation to any chosen animals. It cannot reliably provide exotic materials.
The next level of Life permits a greater control over the powers of nature.
Growth. You can temporarily increase your category beings in size— giant rocks can precipitate avalanches, plants can grow to trip or entangle people, and formerly ordinary animals can become quite fearsome as they scale up to a greater size. Plants can be woven into a shelter; this is the magic that is used to make elven tree cities.
Free Passage. You and a number of companions up to your Attunement rating can travel freely among your category animals. Plants in the forest will part for you, and a herd will protect you as you travel with them, and local animals will show you where to find sustenance. If you have a water-breathing creature among your category animals, you can grant water breathing to your companions in a similar manner.
Many Shapes. Your shapeshifting ability broadens— at a higher difficulty than ordinary shapeshifting, you can change into animals in your category (so if you have “tiger” as an animal, you can do “lion” with only a little more difficulty, “housecat” with somewhat more, and “sphinx” if you’ve got AV to spare).
Partial Transformation. You can perform partial shapeshifting, taking on different attributes of your chosen animal— claws on the fingertips, tough hide, night-seeing eyes, gills that magically supply enough oxygen for a mammal. You can also shift your other animals forms to be able to speak, though if they have no apparatus for speaking (such as a plant or gemstone) it may require a +1 or +2 to your Difficulty of shapeshifting.
Shapeshift Other. As Shift shape, above, but can be done to other willing beings. Gives you the Blast effect of Polymorph for free.
Merge Consciousness. With Influence, you can merge your consciousness with that of an animal. Your body is in a trance while merging, and you are thus automatically surprised, but you can break the trance at will. While merged, you can communicate with the animal and sense everything the animal experiences. You mentally ride along as the animal moves. Except for Perception and detection powers, you cannot use your own abilities through the animal. This is not mind control.
The highest sphere of Life permits impressive feats.
Natural Awareness. Perceive through the gestalt of all creatures in your categories in (Attunement×200m) radius. Perception is general rather than specific. An example might be “a group of human-size creatures is disturbing the forest about a km east of you.”
If one of your specific creatures is near something of interest, like the disturbance in the above example, you may concentrate to actually share its senses.
Your rolls to notice things through your own senses are at –2 while perceiving the gestalt. You can’t use your own senses while concentrating on one creature. It takes 10 shots to establish the gestalt effect, 3 shots to concentrate down to one creature, 1 shot to return to the gestalt, and 1 to drop the effect. You can’t drop the effect while concentrating on a creature without first pulling back to the gestalt.
Natural Form. You can manipulate the reversion status of transformed animals. Difficulty is the higher of their Creature Powers AV or (Magic + Current Reversion points), and you can add or subtract your Outcome to their reversion total. (Adding reversion points causes a reversion check at end of sequence as usual.) You may only do this once per day per creature.
You may also force a transformed animal to make an immediate reversion check by exceeding its dodge, but you can only succeed at this once per animal per sequence.
Fundamental Shifting. Normal shapeshifting turns you into the equivalent of yourself as the other species— an aged female druid cannot turn into a male kitten. Fundamental Shifting lifts this constraint, allowing shapeshifters to change sex and appearance easily. Duplicating another person’s appearance is quite tricky on most islands and impossible (due to fundamental principles of identity) on some. Fundamental Shifting can be used to stave off the effects of old age, though it subjects the user to the usual risks of continuous magic use.
Changer. After spending an Attunement point, you may shapeshift freely, without paying more Attunement points, for your Attunement score in hours. With ritual magic, you can enter into a shapeshifter’s duel, where you and your opponent can shapeshift for free as a 3-shot action. The loser pays Attunement point costs for both at the end of the duel.
Grant Many Shapes. As Many Shapes, above, but applies to Shapeshift Other.
Grant Partial Transformation. As Partial transformation, above, but works on a voluntary subject other than yourself.
Merge Forms. The spellcaster can merge living beings together— weaving plants into single organisms (a good way to subject them to the spread of diseases if you don’t make other efforts to help the infrastructure), creating temporary (and on some islands) permanent hybrid forms such as centaurs, and merging entirely into larger beings such as trees.