From Baystation
Difficulty: Very Hard
Supervisor: Nobody
Branches: Any
Ranks: N/A
Duties: Infiltrate the crew. Seed paranoia until they're at each other's throats. Eat people.
Related Guides: Guide to Combat

Life always finds a way. However, life can sometimes take a more disturbing route. Humanity's extensive knowledge of xenobiological specimens has made them confident and arrogant. Yet something slipped past their eyes. Something dangerous. Something alive. Most frightening of all, however, is that this something is someone: An unknown alien specimen has incorporated itself into the crew. Its unique biology allows it to manipulate its own or anyone else's DNA. With the ability to copy faces, voices, and animals, but also to change the chemical make up of other people's bodies, its existence is a threat to the lives of everyone on board.

If one or more of these traits describe you, you may be a changeling. Congratulations! Through whatever means, you've found yourself on the SEV Torch, and are just about ready to start snacking on the crew. If not – sorry, bud. Rewatch The Thing (1982) and try not to get eaten.

What To Do

Like most types of Antagonists, a changeling does not have fixed goals or motives – it's up to you to decide on a gimmick. Being a hostile shape-shifting alien organism, this will most likely involve infiltrating, terrorizing, and/or eating the crew. It doesn't have to, however: at the start of the round, it's recommended you take a moment to think up a story, pick your skills and abilities, and organize with any other changelings that might be haunting the station.

As a changeling, you have a number of tools available to you. Most of these can be accessed through the Evolution Menu, including your ability to absorb the DNA of hapless crewmembers and to transform into your victims. Core abilities like these are unlocked to begin with, while additional abilities can be purchased with genome points, as discussed more thoroughly later.

In addition, you also have access to the changeling hivemind: a communal link shared by all changelings, allowing them to communicate over long distances. You can communicate and potentially cooperate with other changelings via the hivemind, using ,g as a prefix. This is not audible or visible to anyone around you – just be careful not to typo and announce your evil plans out loud.

Do note, however, that changelings are not required to work together and can very well stab each other in the back – absorbing another changeling gives you all their abilities and collected DNA, after all!

The Evolution Menu

Changelings can view abilities and purchase new ones via the Evolution Menu. By default, all changelings start with the abilities Absorb DNA, Hive Absorb, Hive Channel, Regenerative Stasis, and Transform unlocked for free – additional evolved abilities must be purchased with genome points. Changelings begin with 25 genome points to spend initially, and gain 2 genome points each time they absorb another creature (except other changelings, who give 2 + all their remaining genome points if absorbed).

You can use your abilities by selecting them under the “Changeling” tab on your game window, or by using them as verbs in the chatbar. Most abilities have a chemical cost to use, drawing from the changeling's chemical storage – by default, a changeling's chemical storage refills at a rate of 0.5 units/tic, to a maximum of 50 units (though both can be improved with evolved abilities). When you run out of chemicals, you won't be able to use your abilities until they recharge.

Ability Chem Use Cost Genome Cost Description
Absorb DNA 0u N/A (Default Ability) Absorbs a victim's DNA, turning them into a lifeless husk. This requires a strong grip (i.e. kill grab) on the victim, and takes roughly 90 uninterrupted seconds to successfully complete. Only lifeforms with DNA (that is – of the Torch's species – humans and human variants, Unathi, Skrell, GAS, and certain non-sapient lifeforms like monkeys, stok, neaera, and farwa).

On successfully absorbing a victim, you'll steal their DNA, allowing you to transform into them. Additionally, you'll receive all the victim's known languages, as well as 2 genome points and 10u chemicals.

Absorbing another changeling gives you, additionally, all of that changeling's evolved abilities, collected DNA, and any of their remaining genome points and chemical charges.

Hive Absorb 20u N/A (Default Ability) Absorbs a single DNA that has been uploaded to the changeling hivemind, allowing you to use more disguises with help from your fellow changelings.
Hive Channel 10u N/A (Default Ability) Channels one of your collected DNAs to the changeling hivemind, allowing your fellow changelings to absorb it and transform into the target as if they acquired the DNA themselves.

How altruistic!

Regenerative Stasis 20u N/A (Default Ability) Causes you to enter a regenerative coma, after which you will fully heal. Stasis lasts between 1 to 3 minutes, and can be used before or after death – using it while alive causes you to fake your death. Use the “Revive” verb to return to life.

Note that regeneration only fails if the brain is destroyed, or with total destruction of the body (gibbing, incineration, etc.) – so don't ghost out when you die!

Works during lesser form.

Transform 5u N/A (Default Ability) Transforms you into a creature who's DNA you've absorbed (either directly, or through Hive Absorb or Extract DNA).

The trademark move of any changeling. Expect to go through disguises like tissue paper.

Blind Sting 20u 2 Silently stings a victim next to you, blinding them for a short time and causing lasting eye damage.

Works during lesser form.

Boost Range / Ranged Sting 10u 2 Gives you the ability to shoot stingers from a distance. When activated, your next sting ability can be used against targets 2 squares away.

Works during lesser form.

Deaf Sting 5u 1 Silently stings a victim next to you, completely deafening them for a short time.

Works during lesser form.

Death Sting 40u 10 Stings a victim next to you and injects them with 10u of Lexorin, a potent toxin. This attack is very obvious to any surrounding witnesses, so use it carefully!  

Note that Lexorin, while deadly, can take a while to kill – you might want to have some other method of subduing them at the ready.

Digital Camoflauge 1u/tic 1 You evolve the ability to distort your form and proportions, defeating common algorithms used to detect lifeforms on cameras – this prevents the AI from tracking you on camera. However, people looking at you will notice you look uncanny.

Costs 1u chemicals per tic while active. Works during lesser form.

Note that since there is no AI active during normal gameplay, this ability is usually useless.

Engorged Chemical Glands 4 Your chemical glands swell, allowing you to store an extra 25 units of chemicals (increasing your storage capacity from 50u to 75u).
Epinephrine Sacs 45u 3 Evolves additional sacs of adrenaline throughout your body.

When activated, instantly recover from all stuns.  High chemical cost.

Extract DNA 40u 2 Silently stings a victim next to you, extracting their DNA and allowing you to transform into them. The victim is not harmed and receives no indication you've stung them.

Works on most species with DNA, but some (namely GAS) must be fully absorbed in order to obtain their DNA.

Works during lesser form.

Hallucination Sting 15u 3 Silently stings a victim next to you, filling them with a powerful hallucinogen. The target does not notice they have been stung, and will begin to hallucinate shortly after.

Works during lesser form.

Lesser Form 1u 4 Transforms you into a monkey. Great for getaways and otherwise freaking out the crew! In this form, you can crawl into vents with ctrl+click (though be wary of dangerous changes in pressure while crawling through air ducts).

Change back into a human (or other lifeform) with the “Transform” verb.

Mimic Voice 1u/tic 1 Allows you to shape your vocal glands, letting you alter your voice to sound like anything of your choosing.

Costs 1u chemicals per tic while active.

Rapid Chemical-Synthesis 4 Doubles the rate at which you naturally recharge chemicals, from 0.5u/tic to 1u/tic.
Rapid Regeneration 30u 7 Evolves the ability to rapidly regenerate. When activated, heals a moderate amount of damage every tic for 10 seconds. Can be used whilst unconscious.

Does not effect stuns or chemicals.

Silence Sting 10u 3 Silently stings a victim next to you, completely silencing them for a short time. Does not provide a warning to a victim that they have been stung, until they try to speak and cannot.

Works during lesser form.

Tips for Antagonising

  • Try to tailor your gimmick to the round. If there's only a handful of players around, killing and eating everyone on the ship won't make for a very fun game – try a less lethal approach.
  • Changelings are very durable in combat, but have limited direct offensive abilities. If you plan on getting into a fight, you might want to compensate by picking a high Close Combat skill, using weapons and armor, or finding some other means of attacking. A high Close Combat skill will also help you hold onto a victim while you're absorbing them!

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