I want "From Bear to Phoenix" to be not just a game about mages, but a game about mages cooperating. Yes, even about synergy - if we can reclaim that word from management-speak.
It occurred to me that one way to do this would be to introduce more character traits for mages, each of which has a positive effect on nearby allies.
Leadership would improve their (the nearby allies') accuracy, and perhaps their rate of magic point recovery. Companionship would add to their strength, and hence damage dealt. Nurturing (or compassion) would improve their regeneration of hit points.
Some mages would have these traits, though not all. Shapeshifters would have high leadership and medium companionship when in human form. Their other forms would have different traits: Wolf would have high companionship, Bear medium nurturing, Tree perhaps high nurturing. Proximas would also have high companionship, Lifegivers would of course have high nurturing, and Augmenters might have medium levels of all three of these traits.
But there's more. There could also be spells to affect these traits: Augmenters could cast spells to improve them, such as "Heart of Wolf" to increase companionship or "Leaves of Tree" to increase nurturing (as well as the hit point and magic point regeneration of the recipient). And Illusions could cast spells to decrease them, or indeed reverse them entirely: despair as the negative of leadership, mistrust or paranoia as the negative of companionship, hostility or hatred as the opposite of nurturing.
This makes the following scenario possible. An Illusion casts "Hostility" on a mage - perhaps a Shapeshifter or a Proxima in hand-to-hand combat with allies of the Illusion. Illusions are invisible, so perhaps the player of the mage doesn't realise at first that any spell has been cast on the mage.
Damaged from combat, the mage retreats to huddle near a Lifegiver: she's currently too busy healing others to attend to him, but he can still benefit from being near her. Which he does, until suddenly the player realises that the Lifegiver has been losing hit points from the poisonous Hostility of the Illusion's spell.
The tradeoff then becomes, sacrifice the Lifegiver's hit points for the other mage's? And during and after the battle, the (magically) Hostile mage is shunned by allied mages until they can find a way to dispel the Hostility ...