Transformed animals have a particular set of design requirements for the default Feng Shui game to make them into an opponent faction. Without a faction driving certain characteristics, we are left with considerable latitude for changing the notion around. Magic does not necessarily have to be the factor that returns them to their original form.
The Feng Shui notion of transformed animals is that they are creatures that envied human life so much that they have managed to circumvent the process of travel along the wheel of karma, and have assumed human form. Many cultures have legends of times when animals could talk, and a story that explains why they no longer do so. Animals that live at this level of magic could be candidates for transformation. The founding myth of Korea involves a transfomed bear. The Chinese classic, Journey to the West, contains a large number of transformed animals, all of whom are referred to as “spirits” (though quite physical in nature!) who have attained humanity through self-cultivation. JttW has quite a number of them— bulls, bears, tigers, wolves, hares, foxes (including nine-tailed foxes), musk deer, horned deer, antelope, spiders, scorpions, a red scaled python, and even a group of plants: a juniper tree, a cypress tree, an apricot tree, winter plums, and cassia plants. They always possess dangerous magical powers, and often pretend to be Taoist sorcerers. Simulating these sorts works much better as Supernatural Creatures rather than the Transformed Animals that we know from the standard Feng Shui rules.
To use the Transformed Animal rules from Feng Shui, we define a special category— not merely Supernatural Creatures with the Transformation schtick, but animals that have made a particular effort to become human, giving up their former position on the Wheel of Karma. As such, transformed dragons will be extremely rare, vastly rarer even than normal dragons— why be human when you can be a dragon with the Transformation schtick? The transformed animal will be a being who is striving for humanity for a driving reason, whether noble or base.
First-generation transformed animals all need a passion, the obsessive quality that drove them to become a human being in the first place. For a relatively intelligent animal, it may be envy the exalted place that humanity possesses on the wheel of karma. Motivations could be as simple as food or shelter, or love of a particular human, of humans in general, or of some activity such as music or warfare. Thus, a transformed tomcat might be a fickle ladies’ man, while a transformed swan might have assumed human form for the love of one particular woman. A dragon might forsake the lonely path of a territorial predator for the welcoming society of humanity. (Dragons that simply possess the Transformation schtick can assume human form, but at heart they are still a dragon. Dragons that take transformed animal status are making a serious metaphysical leap, not just a casual change.)
The passion is the transformed animal’s link to humanity, the place in their soul from whence they derive the power to defy nature and assume human form. If they do not continue to cultivate and exercise their passion, they begin to revert to animal form.
The descendents of transformed animals find it difficult to discover a passion until they have experienced some degree of reversion and been mentored through the process of finding their way back to humanity. Wise transformed animals raise their children to be passionate; less wise ones make them obsessive.
The only known way for a fully reverted animal to be restored to human form is by human intervention that attempts to call the animal soul toward its passion. This is not a reliable process, but it happens on rare occasions— it is a heroic feat, almost legendary.
It is rumored that it is possible for a transformed animal to permanently gain a human form by earning their new place on the Wheel. No one is sure of the methods— some espouse working to pay off bad karma and old debts, while others say that it is important to demonstrate an understanding of life’s fundamental lessons. Many transformed animals laugh at the notion entirely.
Transformed animals must keep their grip on their acquired humanity or risk turning back into their animal forms.
Most reversions are into either mundane or talking versions of the appropriate animal. Dragons are a special case; they revert into a fully intelligent and dangerous being, built as a Supernatural Creature with half as many Creature schticks as the Transformed Animal character had Transformed Animal schticks. They may even possess the Transformation power, allowing them to regain their human form; however, the state will always be temporary for a reverted dragon, and they will have lost the metaphysical state that made them human instead of a dragon— there will always be that poignant sense of being apart that a shapeshifter feels.
Check out new transformed animals at Bryant Durrell’s site, as well as the Reversion Revisited page, the T3 animals, and the transformed animals and transformed plants at the Jade Agenda. At some point, Reality Software’s pages may become available again, and those have lots of nifty hits on Altavista.