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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_ivohu8z.png]]]]

The ability to switch between sets of abilities or attack styles. The Stance System is frequently used to make it possible to map a large number of actions to the finite number of buttons on a controller without resorting to increasingly complicated combos. Each action may require as little as a single button press to execute, but the same buttons will perform different actions depending on the stance the character is currently in. The character's current stance may be visually accompanied by a change in IdleAnimation.

Normally a stance remains as-is until switched, a less-popular variation gives a character access to a new series of moves, but only for a short window of time before going back to their base stance.

See also DualModeUnit. Compare JobSystem. If the change in stance is accompanied by a [[ShapeShifting change in physical form]] then you probably have a SwissArmyHero on your hands.


[[folder:Action Adventure]]
* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' allows you to change between 'High' and 'Low' stances depending on how you hold the Wiimote.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'', Altair can switch between low-profile mode, which has moves like blending with crowds and gently pushing people aside, and high-profile mode, which allows freerunning, throwing, and attacks. In combat, different moves are available depending on whether the player is blocking.
* The ''VideoGame/LittleBigAdventure'' series - Twinsen can switch between four "moods" that influence his movement, his magic ball throwing, his swordwork, and, in the sequel, his use of the ray gun. Normal is used for interacting with other beings, Sporty gives him faster movement and the ability to jump, Aggressive lets him attack enemies with his fists, and Discreet is used for sneaking.
* This trope was the entire selling-point of ''VideoGame/SpiderManWebOfShadows''. Spidey could switch between the black symbiote suit which infects him throughout the game or the classic red-blue outfit at any time with the press of a button, the use of each deciding his path down the KarmaMeter. The black suit favored combat, brutality and [[CombatTentacles black tendrils]] while the classic suit preferred webbing, combo-slinging and [[CombatParkour acrobatics]].
* Episode 3 of ''VideoGame/PennyArcadeAdventures'' has the Cardboard Tube Samurai class. Different stances that the samurai can take will both raise one stat and offer a stance-selective option of moves.
* ''VideoGame/{{Yakuza}} 0'' introduces a stance system for its two playable characters.
** Kazuma Kiryu's fighting styles consist of "Brawler", a balanced fighting style; "Rush", a fast-paced boxing style that can land multiple hits on single opponents; and "Beast", which emphasizes raw power and using environmental objects like bikes and street signs as weapons. His secret "Dragon of Dojima" stance is his fighting style in previous games.
** Goro Majima's styles are "Thug", a balanced fighting style; "Breaker", a fast-paced style consisting of break-dancing moves; and "Slugger", a power-based style centered around battering enemies with a baseball bat. His secret unlockable "Mad Dog of Shimano" style is reminiscent of how he fights as a boss in previous games.

* ''VideoGame/EscapeFromMonkeyIsland'' has the Monkey Kombat minigame, which combines this trope with ElementalRockPaperScissors.

[[folder:Beat'Em Up/Hack and Slash]]
* ''Franchise/DevilMayCry'' was one of the first to use these in an action game form in [=DMC3=] with its styles system; Swordmaster allows advanced use of melee weapons, Gunslinger grants new techniques to ranged weaponry, Trickster adds advanced dodging abilities, and Royal Guard allows you to stop nearly any attack cold. ''4'' decided to push it to its natural evolution with the ability to switch styles on the fly as Dante with the push of a direction on the D-pad.
** In the [[VideoGame/DmCDevilMayCry reboot]], developed by ''VideoGame/HeavenlySword'' creator Ninja Theory, the stances return in the form of your standard Rebellion sword, and an Angelic weapon (focusing on fast, crowd-hitting attacks) and Demonic weapon (focusing on slow but heavy-damage attacks).
* ''VideoGame/{{Genji}}: Days of the Blade'' (the one with [[MemeticMutation real-time weapon switching]]) gives the ability to switch between four characters who can themselves switch between two weapons in real time. The concept isn't the same, but from a gameplay stand-point it's a stance.
* This shows up in ''VideoGame/HeavenlySword''. Each stance is oriented towards some specialty (power, speed and range).
* ''VideoGame/NoMoreHeroes'' allows you to change between 'High' and 'Low' stances depending on how you hold the Wiimote.
* ''VideoGame/{{Onechanbara}}'s'' stance system has been a staple of the series, that also doubles as RealTimeWeaponChange. Aya can switch from single to dual wielding swords, Saki has access to grapple moves with her fists, Reiko pulls out a shotgun or SMG, and Misery's sword becomes a WhipSword (the latter two ladies are playable in ''Bikini Zombie Slayers''). Kagura and Saaya more so count as real time weapon changing, but the game(s) themselves count them as stances.
* Pretty abundant in ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'', sometimes overlapping SuperMode.
** Date Masamune has the War Dance/Six Swords stance in which he foregoes blocking and defense for wielding ''all his katanas'' at once for a more aggressive fighting style, and in the 3rd game, modifies his normal skills. Either it's activated manually by equipping the skill/his unique item or it's an aftereffect of his BASARA attack.
*** His second-in-command and BattleButler, Katakura Kojuuro, can pull off a "Berserker Mode" which also forfeits his ability to block and evade to add some GoodOldFisticuffs to the action. This mode also comes with a cool SwordDrag to complete the picture of the wrath of a usually calm and reserved man when he chooses to [[LetsGetDangerous get REALLY serious]].
** Honda Tadakatsu has the Heavy Mode skill, which turns his style from a LightningBruiser into a MightyGlacier by trading his normal drill-spear into a gigantic {{Pilebunker}}.
** Magoichi can switch guns with certain attacks, going from a pistol to a shotgun or machine gun.
** Nobunaga can do this in the third game as well, where he can switch from using SwordAndGun to attacking with his GuardianEntity, the latter of which makes him an outright GameBreaker.
** The fourth game introduces newcomers Shima Sakon and Goto Matabe. The first is a happy-go-lucky, [[TheGambler gambling-loving]] jock who can switch between [[ExtremityExtremist kick-]] and [[DualWield blade-based]] moves, and the latter is a murder-obsessed madman who can switch between swinging around his PrecisionGuidedBoomerang or swiping at enemies with his gauntlets after tossing said boomerang.
* All of the autobots in ''VideoGame/TransformersDevastation'' can switch between their robot and vehicle modes on the fly (and said vehicle modes can be used for CarFu). There is also a close combat and range combat stance, and each of the five playable characters have varying degrees of ability at both (e.g. Wheeljack is primarily geared for long range firefights, while Grimlock is primarily up close and personal).

* One of the earliest examples in video games is Gen from ''VideoGame/StreetFighter'', who can change between Crane and Mantis-style Kung Fu on the fly.
* Almost a constant for jugglers and chaotic type fighters in ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'', from small time-window activation (Flicker Stance, Kenpo Step) to constant switches (Lei's five animal kung fu, [[BadassBack back-turning]], Hwoarang's left and right stances).
* All of the ''VideoGame/SoulCalibur'' games. The iconic example is Maxi, who has different stances depending on what side of his body his nunchaku end an attack on. This has become more prominent in later entries in the series, as the movelist has expanded.
** There's also Tira, who switches between her 'Gloomy' and 'Jolly' personas, with different movesets as a result. Certain actions can be taken to manually switch her between these modes, and it'll also happen with certain damage calculations.
** [[ConfusionFu Voldo]] deserves special mention: his stances include [[BadassBack turning his back to his opponent]], attacking from a prone position, ''doing the worm'', and ''crab-walking'' in both head-first and feet-first configurations.
** [[MsFanservice Ivy]] can use her WhipSword in either whip or sword mode (or in IV onward, a third mode that resembles a chakram). Most games add additional stances, such as swinging it above her head or to one side.
** Nightmare (up to SCII) / Siegfried's (SCIII and beyond) stances involve holding his {{BFS}} in both hands, dragging it along the ground with one hand (which limits mobility), or holding it behind his back. In III and onward, Siegfried also has a fourth stance where he crouches down behind his sword. He can't move at all in this stance but he will automatically Guard Impact anything that hits the sword.
** [[{{Samurai}} Mitsurugi]] typically has a few stances, including one in which he holds his sword above his head and pointed toward his opponent and another in which he sheathes it in preparation for a few different variations of SheathStrike or [[IaijutsuPractitioner Iaijutsu]].
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros''
** Both ''Melee'' and ''Brawl'' have characters that can completely change their moveset via "transformations": Zelda can transform into Sheik, Pokémon Trainer changes between his 3 Pokémon, and Samus' PowerArmor can break and reveal Zero Suit Samus. Due to the huge difference between each "stance", both the community and development team considers each of them separate characters.
** ''Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U'' gets rid of transformations, instead giving most of the involved characters their own character slots. However, it also gives a more straight use of the stance system in the form of Shulk: Shulk has a set of 5 Monado Arts that can boost one of his attributes [[MultiformBalance at the cost of weakening others]] for a few seconds; so he can, for example, increase his speed at the cost of his attack and jump height, or [[StoneWall greatly increase his defense at the cost of his movement abilities and attack power]].
* ''Videogame/MortalKombat4'' has Kai, who can change to a handstand position and use an array of kicks.
* ''VideoGame/MortalKombatDeadlyAlliance'' actually ''called'' it Stance shifting, and was one of the earliest examples to use literal switches of fighting stance and weapon use to expand the move-list without compromising user-friendliness.
* In ''Videogame/MortalKombatX'', each character has three variations that they can choose from at the beginning that gives them differing movesets. Lui Kang and Tremor also have two different modes in one variation, and Triborg has a fourth variation: [[spoiler:Cyber Sub-Zero]]
* Hotaru Futuba from ''Videogame/TheKingOfFighters'' has moves that change her stance which in turn give access to different attacks. Note that she debuted in ''[[VideoGame/FatalFury Garou: Mark of The Wolves]]'' and didn't have a StanceSystem. Only after her inclusion in ''VideoGame/NeoGeoBattleColiseum'' did she get that.
** May Lee Jinju from the same series also has a 'Hero Mode' which offers her different and more powerful attacks. Jhun Hoon also has a mode in which he stands on one leg and his attacks differ.
** Shion, the sub-boss of ''[=KoF=] XI'' can switch between using a spear or martial arts.
** OldMaster Chin Gentsai may as well be the first one to use this in the series proper, being able to attack (and dodge attacks) in a drunken stance or from a lying position. In ''XIII'' onwards, he has a new set of stances entirely, with him standing on one foot or in a ducking position.
* In ''VideoGame/MagicalBattleArena'', [[Franchise/LyricalNanoha Fate Testarossa's]] block special lets her switch between Lightning and Sonic form. Lightning Form is her default and gives her a Mid-Range fighting style (5-hit melee combos and 3-hit long-range attacks), while Sonic Form turns her into a more FragileSpeedster with a Short-Range fighting style (7-hit melee combos and 1-hit long-range attacks).
* Mito from ''The Rumble Fish'' has 2 stances, one which she swings her wooden sword in wide arcs and another where she uses mainly thrusts.
* ''VideoGame/BushidoBlade'' - The stance system was the foundation of the game as, with the exception of projectiles and a few speciality moves, all characters had the same moves with the same weapons in each of the three stances, just different speed and power. The sequel moved from the ability to shift up and down to only being able to shift up in a circular manner. The spiritual sequel, ''Kengo: Master of Bushido'', changed this to allowing up to four combo-sets to switch between that were earned by defeated the practitioners of various styles.
* In ''VideoGame/XMenNextDimension'', three characters (Beast, Gambit and Toad) have different stances listed. Forge can also play to a different style depending on what type of ammo he's loaded in his variable gun.
* In ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'', Litchi Faye-Ling usually starts out carrying her staff, but can switch into a different stance by planting the staff on the ground and fights more on chi control and martial arts. Though she can still command her staff with telekinesis.
** In ''Chronophantasma'', Nu-13 has this system where one form she's her usual self, in another form, she took on Lambda-11's style. Newcomer Kagura Mutsuki also has this of sorts, which would change what kind of normal attacks he has, the only thing that's constant in him would be just his [[Franchise/StreetFighter Sonic Boom/Flash Kick-esque charged attacks]].
* ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'':
** This is [[Franchise/AceAttorney Phoenix Wright's]] niche in ''Ultimate'' (along with ConfusionFu), whose three modes make him DifficultButAwesome. He starts fights in Investigation mode, where his attacks leave a lot to be desired damage-wise, but keep his opponents away long enough for him to search for good pieces of evidence. In Trial mode, his moves change and each good piece of evidence turns into a decent, spammable projectile. With three good pieces of evidence, connecting with an "Objection!" attack makes him enter Turnabout mode, a SuperMode that makes him a lot stronger and faster, with awesome attacks and one of the most damaging Level 3 Hyper Combos in the game.
** Other characters in the game that use stances are [[VideoGame/{{Okami}} Amaterasu]] (though that kind of borders between this and RealTimeWeaponChange) and [[Franchise/ResidentEvil Jill]].
* Zappa from ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'', as represented with the spirit possessing him, grants him about three default stances, the 3-Ghost, the Demon Dog and Flying Sword stance, which grants him quite the diversity of moves depending on which spirit is active. Under certain circumstances, then he will get the Raou spirit (an armored, energy being spirit thing) which is more powerful than the rest. In Gold Mode, he's permanently using Raou, thus losing his StanceSystem.
* Toro Inoue, the Sony Cat in ''VideoGame/PlayStationAllStarsBattleRoyale'' fights like this (during the reveal, the UsefulNotes/PlayStation blog referred to Toro as having "a unique stance-based fighting style"). Justice Toro is a martial arts master who specializes in close combat, Torobi is a {{Ninja}} that uses long-ranged tactics and Oni Toro is a {{Youkai}} that prefers a wide-area assault.
** [[VideoGame/{{Starhawk}} EmmettGraves]] does something like this with his build-and-battle system.
* Several characters in ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs'' have multiple fighting styles. Wonder Woman switches between using her whip and a Sword and shield, while Nightwing uses escrima sticks which can combine into a staff.
* [[VideoGame/{{Persona 3}} Aigis]] in ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'' has one in form of Orgia Mode. In the original game, it's just a temporary boost in strength for several turns. Here, while her old moves are still available, the way she moves changes drastically that their play styles tends to get very different.
* ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}''
** Squigly has a rather unique twist on this concept. All of her ground specials are based off of one of two stances, the [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons dragon]] stance, and the [[WhipItGood whip]] stance. Holding the button while performing the special, however, allows Squigly to stay in the stance. Doing so alters her movement, charges up her moves, and after a while makes the next move used from that stance a Level 2 variant, giving it more unique and powerful properties as well as more combo opportunities. In addition, she can actually end her stances extremely quickly if another button is tapped while she's in the stance, allowing her to continue her combos via LagCancel. Having a Level 2 stance allows her to end the stances even quicker to offer even more unique combos.
** A more traditional version is Eliza. While she acts as a pretty standard air-dashing character normally, using any of her quarter-circle back and punch moves will cause her parasite Sekhmet to [[BodyHorror come out of her body]] and act as a different character. Sekhmet is completely ImmuneToFlinching, has hard-hitting normals, and travels very fast, but her only reliable mixups are high/low and cross-ups, and any time Sekhmet is active she will cause the super meter to drain. Proper Eliza play involves knowing how to utilize both forms effectively.
** To a lesser extent, there is also Ms. Fortune and Beowulf, whose moves differ depending on whether the former's head is still attached to her shoulders, and whether the latter is brandishing his folding chair.
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Hopeless Masquerade]]'', characters have religions which affect the properties of most of their attacks. There's Buddhism, which greatly prefers [[AllMonksKnowKungFu short-range and melee attacks]], Taoism, which prefers low-spread, fast-moving projectiles, and Shinto, which prefers high-spread and homing projectiles. There is also Atheism, which is merely a middle ground between each of the faiths.
** Hata no Kokoro is the only one who can change religions in battle with her skills. One of her spell cards can change the opponent's religion.
* The VideoGame/GundamVsSeries uses a Stance System to imitate machines with {{Mecha Expansion Pack}}s, letting them change gear on the fly. A prime example is the Strike Gundam from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'', which can swap between the speedy Aile Striker, melee-focused Sword Striker, and long-range Launcher Striker; ''Extreme Vs.'' also threw in the I.W.S.P. from ''SEED-MSV'', which can do [[AllYourPowersCombined a little bit of everything]], but runs on a timer.
** There's a similar set-up for machines that can swap equipment; the prime example is the [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam Gundam Ez8]], which can switch between a fairly orthodox playstyle and one where he busts out his 180mm cannon for long-range bombardment.
** The [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam Shining Gundam]] as it appeared in ''Gundam vs. Gundam Next Plus'' worked like this during its SuperMode; it can fight bare-handed, which is mostly identical to its base form, or pull out the [[{{BFS}} Shining Finger Sword]], which limits it to melee moves which are incredibly powerful and have more reach than one might suspect.
* In ''VideoGame/KillerInstinct'' Season 3, The two-headed Eyedol has a moveset for each of his heads. The first head is the Warrior Head, which is played like a rushdown character, while the other head, the Mage Head, is more of a zoner. Unlike most examples, the player has no direct control over what stance they're in; It switches randomly as Eyedol uses special moves, and can be forced by [[CastFromHitPoints punching the other head awake]].
* Most Stand users in ''VideoGame/JojosBizarreAdventureAllStarBattle'' can choose between having their stand on or off, with different moves between the two stances as well as a bigger hitbox in the former stance.
** Shigechi has "offensive formation" and "defensive formation" instead.
** Johnny and Gyro can mount on their horses, getting a number of benefits (bigger reach, resistance to knockdowns, cannot be grappled) and disadvantages (bigger target, cannot recover their Guard gauge, grapple, or collect corpse parts) as well as different movesets.

[[folder:First Person Shooter]]
* Starting with ''[[VideoGame/JediKnightIIJediOutcast Jedi Outcast]]'', the ''VideoGame/DarkForcesSaga'' allows the player to switch between between three different lightsaber styles (light, which is weak but fast and can chain attacks indefinitely; strong, which is slow and can't chain more than one attack but is powerful; and medium, which can chain five attacks at once and is decently quick and powerful). Enemies with lightsabers also use one of the three styles, and are ColorCodedForYourConvenience. ''[[VideoGame/JediKnightJediAcademy Jedi Academy]]'' expands a little further by adding the [[DoubleWeapon saber staff]] and [[DualWielding dual sabers]], which are respectively sort-of evolutions of one of the other styles (dual sabers are like the fast style with more power owing to the second saber added, saber staff is closer to strong style with medium's speed) and can also still be used with a single blade in one of the other styles, respectively fast for one of the dual sabers and medium for one blade of the staff.
* ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'' uses this trope in regards to your PoweredArmor. It has four modes you can switch between at any time; Armor, Speed, Strength, and Cloaking.
* ''VideoGame/{{Unreal}}'' series' examples:
** ''VideoGame/UnrealChampionship2TheLiandriConflict'' has Melee and Weapon modes for every fighter.
** ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament2004'' has the Leviathan vehicle, which has two modes: mobile artillery with a giant swarm homing missile launcher, and stationary with a huge WaveMotionGun which outputs an explosion which rivals the one of the Redeemer.
** ''VideoGame/UnrealTournamentIII'', in addition to the Leviathan, has the Nemesis, one of the Necris vehicles, which has three different modes: slow, but with increased rate of fire; the regular one; and a fast, but FOV locked one.

* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
** The warrior class was like this until the Mists of Pandaria expansion: Berserker Stance (does more damage and takes more), Battle Stance (balanced) and Defensive Stance (less damage) had restrictions on what abilities could be used, and switching between them was part of gameplay. While the stances still exist, the ability restrictions were removed as they were felt to not make a dynamic playstyle, and what stance to use is now a matter of the player's role in the party and how much damage they are taking.
*** [[spoiler:General Nazgrim]], in his boss fight, also switches between stances. When he's in Battle Stance, his attacks grant him rage. While he's in Berserker Stance, he does more damage and gets more rage, but also takes more damage. While he's in Defensive Stance, he takes less damage and gets Rage every time he's struck by someone who does not have the debuff he puts on his tank.
** Druids have shapeshifting, in which cat and bear forms completely change their abilities and playstyle. However they usually stay in one form most of the time (determined by their specialisation and role), only shifting for brief periods to give emergency healing, gain mobility or providing a temporary tank.
** They also had or used to have specialized shapeshifts for either offensive spellcasting or healing tied to the respective talent trees. The treant for healing now only exists as a visual flavor option and the moonkin for offensive spellcasters is more of a buff than anything now.
** The T440 Dual-Mode robot alternates between melee and ranged attack modes based on how close the player fighting him is. Regardless of whether your class and spec is best at melee or ranged combat, you must periodically force him into the other mode, because he gradually does more damage the longer he stays in one mode.
* ''VideoGame/WarhammerOnline'' has two stance-based classes. The Marauder is a servant of the Changer of Ways, and as can adopt different stances by painfully mutating his left arm; the mutations are claw, club, and blade, for anti-magic and utility, fighting a group, or fighting a single target. The Shadow Warrior is an elf trained in the guerilla warfare style necessary to fight against the Dark Elves in their own land; their stances are sniping/scouting, skirmishing, and close combat. When players switch stances frequently in the middle of combat, players call that "stance dancing."
* In ''VideoGame/GrandChase'', Amy can switch between Performance and Fight modes in all three of her classes. While both can fight, Performance mode is more focused on buffs and singing/dancing/violining, while Fighting mode more on hand to hand combos.
* ''VideoGame/GranadoEspada'' gives all of its characters at least three stances. PlayerMooks have more, but are limited by what weapons they're holding, occasionally requiring a RealTimeWeaponChange.
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'': Jedi Knights and Sith Warriors learn different lightsaber stances that offer passive boosts: specifically, Shii-Cho (I), Shien (V), Ataru (IV), Soresu (III), and Juyo (VII), though all but the first one are additionally restricted to a particular PrestigeClass. Bounty Hunters and Troopers can switch out ammo for similar effects. The Imperial Agents and Smugglers have truer stances, being able to take cover, required for many of their attacks. Several classes can go into a stealth mode as well, effectively another stance.
* The Monks in ''VideoGame/DungeonsAndDragonsOnline'' have stances that change their KiAttacks and their ElementalPowers, creating offensive or defensive advantages at the sacrifice of another ability. Many general and combat stances in the game for other classes have similar tradeoffs.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'':
** All of the tank jobs have a stance for tanking, sacrificing damage for defense, higher "enmity" or threat generation and access to certain abilities, but also one for increased damage.
** Healer classes and jobs had access to ''Cleric Stance'', which swapped their offensive spellpower and healing power around. Then the devs realized that "stance dancing" was not actually fun for healers, so healer damage calculation was changed to run off healing power all the time, and Cleric Stance's effect was changed to something that no longer qualifies for this trope.
** The ranged jobs (Bard and Machinist) both have a stance that sacrifices their mobility advantage over spellcasters for increased damage.
** Pugilists and Monks have three stances: Fists of Wind (increased movement speed), Fists of Earth (improved defense), and Fists of Fire (increased damage output).
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline2'' has two stances for each class that specializes in melee combat:
** Hunters have Assault Stance (increased damage output at the cost of defense) and Guard Stance (increased defense at the cost attack power).
** Fighters have Brave Stance (increased damage to the front of enemies, but less when attacking from behind) and Wise Stance (more damage when attacking from behind, less from the front)
** Bravers have Weak Stance (increased damage when hitting enemy weak spots, but less damage to all other parts of the body) and Average Stance (increased overall attack, though not as significant as other stances)
** Bouncers have Break Stance (increased damage to breakable body parts, but less damage to other parts of the body) and Elemental Stance (more damage when exploiting elemental weaknesses, but less damage otherwise).

* ''VideoGame/LostSoulsMUD'' has this in the form of a "combat mode" system, encompassing both such basics as aggressive and defensive modes and esoterica like berserking and combat meditation.

* ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes'', which featured the ability to choose one of three characters on the fly while having the other two invincible and in some sort of formation with your character. The swap is so near-instant that it's pretty much a glorified stance change. Contrast to other games that used this idea before, which often had some sort of delay or disadvantage to switching characters mid-game.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLostWorldJurassicParkConsole'', the Compy's attacks will change depending on whether it is crouched, standing normally, or upright.

* ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' has this in spades: 6 martial arts forms, 4 weapon forms, 5 transformation forms, and several support or magic forms (throw fireballs, slow enemies down, sap their [[{{Mana}} spirit]], etc).
* A staple in the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series:
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' gives us DittoFighter Gau, except that many of his stances don't have anything to do with the monster he's changed into.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has stances for Samurai that boost either offensive ability or the power of one of their defensive abilities, and both require a two-handed weapon. Scholars can either be proficient in White or Black magic, but not both at the same time, which places at least some limitation to the job (although both schools of magic are still usable). Ninjas gain stances that emphasize either their tanking ability or their damage-dealing ability.
** The battle system of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' hinges on this mixed with a JobSystem. Parties are made up of three members, and each character as a battle role, the combination of which determines the name and the type of Paradigm you're using (e.g. [[TheMedic Medic/Medic]]/[[DamageSponge Sentinel]] is a defensive paradigm called "Combat Clinic", while using Commando/Ravager/Ravager is an offensive paradigm aptly called "Relentless Assault"). The entire purpose of these roles is to mix-n'-match your paradigms depending on your party and situation. Over leveled? Using Cerberus (Commando/Commando/Commando) will take out weak enemies. Enemy dishing out too much damage and is too fast? A balanced paradigm like Supernatural (Synergist/Saboteur/Medic) is the way to go. Boss preparing an ultimate attack and you're underleveled? Quickly switching to Tortoise (Sentinel/Sentinel/Sentinel) should help. The roles are:
*** Commando - primary damage dealer
*** Ravager - [[BlackMage Black mage]] type who use rapid magic attacks to initiate [[BreakMeter Stagger Mode]]
*** Sentinel - [[DamageSponge Sponge]] who absorbs damage while other members perform other jobs.
*** Synergist - the buffer; enhances allies
*** Saboteur - debuffer; weakens enemies
*** Medic - [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Heals party members]]
** ''VideoGame/LightningReturnsFinalFantasyXIII'' plays it even straighter than the previous ''FF 13'' games, with Lightning now being the sole playable character who shifts between several customizable Schemas, with each abilities attached to each one.
** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV Cecil]] from ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'' can switch between Dark Knight (a warrior focusing on ground attacks and the odd blast of dark power) and Paladin (Warrior with powerful Air Combos and the odd blast of holy power) depending on which attacks he uses, allowing him to go from ground to air fighter on the fly. He even gets separate weapons for both forms and switches between the two along with the form.
** Also in ''Dissidia'', the [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII Onion Knight]] uses two different stances when his EX Mode is engaged: using HP attacks on the ground transforms him into a Ninja, which enhances his melee attacks; while using HP attacks in the air transforms him into a Sage, which enhances his magical attacks. Both forms also have their own requirements for perfectly executing an EX Burst attack (selecting Throw, then Shuriken for Ninja; and selecting Magic, then Holy for Sage).
** Lightning in the prequel ''Dissidia Duodecim'' uses the Paradigm System of her [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII original game]], able to switch between mostly physical attacks (Commando), offensive magic (Ravager) and restoring Brave points (Medic).
** Paladins in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' have two mutually-exclusive buffs: Sword Oath, which increases the power of auto-attacks, and Shield Oath, which lowers damage dealt and taken by 20% and increases enmity.
* ''VideoGame/TrueCrimeNewYorkCity'' has four (not including the default) individually trainable martial arts forms: Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Wushu, and Muay Thai. Marcus can switch between them in real time, and cannot use them with weapons.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords'' gives the player the ability to set each character's combat style in order to determine what kinds of tactics they use. It's expanded further for Jedi characters, who can learn a number of lightsaber forms, each with different advantages and disadvantages.
* Several characters from ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'' have different sets of attacks depending on their stance, most notably Lei-Fei and Vanessa Lewis.
* The Drive Forms from ''KingdomHearts 2'' also count, the valor form gives you [[DualWielding a second keyblade]] and increases attack power, the wisdom form increases magic power, master form increases aerial attacks, and final form increases ...well, [[GameBreaker everything else.]]
** ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep'' expands on the drive system with Command Styles and Dimension Links. By filling up a meter with special moves, you'll enter a "Command Style" that gives elemental powers to your attacks and enables a special finishing move to be used. Dimension links will replace your entire command list with ones related to characters you've met throughout the story, allowing you to completely change the way your character fights for a short time. Both of these are useful for adapting to the three characters' strengths and weaknesses.
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'' allows the player to switch between Strong, Fast, and Group styles of swordfighting. Some enemies an only be hurt effectively by fast or strong style, while [[{{Gamebreaker}} group is effective anytime you fight more than one foe]].
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', Shale has [[strike: three]] four different modes she can use: Attack (melee), Attack (ranged), Defense, and Passive Defense. Her abilities in each mode change radically, as does her performance on the battlefield, and the bonuses she bestows to party members within range. In the fourth mode, she is actually completely disabled, while all nearby party members enjoy massive bonuses.
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' allows usage of some {{Prestige Class}}es' abilities only if that class' basic Sustained ability is active, e.g. Blood Magic, Spirit Healer's Aura, and Berserking. Non-prestige class {{Skill Tree}}s occasionally include mutually exclusive Sustained abilities that offer different bonuses, essentially functioning as stances, e.g. Rogue Specialist's Precision, Speed, and Power; Warrior Defender's Elemental Aegis and Turn the Blade; and Vanguard's Control and Might. Lastly, some companions' specializations have Sustained abilities akin to prestige classes, like Fenris' Lyrium Ghost and Merrill's Wrath of the Elvhen, but Anders takes it a step further, only using half of his special abilities when the mutually exclusive Panacea or Vengeance modes are active.
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' has the Tempest specialization's Flask abilities, which provide powerful temporary boons to the user. Flask of Frost [[StoneWall significantly reduces damage]] and briefly freezes enemies who attack the Tempest (and can be upgraded to provoke nearby enemies to attack the Tempest), Flask of Fire knocks enemies who attack the Tempest away and [[SpamAttack eliminates the stamina cost (and cooldown when upgraded) of abilities]], and Flask of Lightning allows the Tempest to [[BulletTime move much faster than everyone else (with time coming to a near-stop if upgraded)]]. Only one can be active at a time, but the Tempest can learn a passive that increases Flasks' durations if used immediately after one expires.
* Patty in the [=PS3=] version of ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' has four battle modes when fighting: Normal, Advance, Brainel, and Critical. Normal is exactly what it sounds like, Advance emphasizes direct attacks, Brainel prefers range and spell casting, and Critical has the benefits of both Advance and Brainel. Knowing the difference between the modes is crucial, since certain techniques are different depending on her form.
* The primitive ActionRPG ''VideoGame/{{Hydlide}}'' gave the player character "Attack" and "Defend" stances.
* In VideoGame/TalesOfGraces, every playable character switches between two different sets of artes (apparently being called Alpha and Beta), each using a different style [for example, Cheria switches between throwing knives (her Alpha artes) and light spells (her Beta artes), likewise, Asbel switches between a combo of sheath bunts and kicks (Alpha artes) and sword combat (Beta artes].
* All the characters of ''VideoGame/DungeonSiegeIII'' have two attack stances that they can use.
** Lucas uses either a sword and shield for single enemies or a two-handed {{BFS}} for groups.
** Anjali can attack with a spear or turn into an Avatar and use fire blasts.
** Katarina uses GunsAkimbo for close quarters or a rifle for range.
** Reinhart switches between [[EntropyAndChaosMagic Entropic Magic]] or Dynamic Magic.
* [[VideoGame/SeventhDragon 7th Dragon]] 2020 gives us a rare dungeon crawler instance with the Samurai class. The Samurai is able to switch between Iai and Battou stances, where the Iai stance allows the usage of elementally-imbued, single-hit attacks while Battou stances are for multiple-hit physical attacks.
* Some ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey'' games have the Ronin class, which has certain skills based on which of the three stances are active. Overhead/Upper increases offence and defence, with focus on offence, Seigan/Clear increases the same, but with focus on defence, and Iai/Drawing increases speed.
* Franchise/{{Pokemon}} has a few cases, though not all are manual:
** [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Aegislash_(Pokémon) Aegislash]], which takes the form of an animate sword and shield, has the unique Ability "Stance Change". In its Shield Forme, it has some of the [[StoneWall highest defenses in the game]]; in its Blade Forme, its [[GlassCannon attack stats skyrocket and its defenses drop to almost nothing]].
** [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Minior_(Pokémon) Minior]] follows a similar defensive stat setup in the form of a round floating chunk of rock. Once its HP dips below half, however, it can then activate its unique Ability "Shields Down," upon which the rock casing breaks off and reveals its true form inside, a brightly-colored star. Its stats then shift to an emphasis on offense and speed as one of the fastest Rock-types in the game.
** A [[http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Darmanitan_(Pokémon) Darmanitan]] with the Ability "Zen Mode" functions in this way. Normally, it's a fast-moving physical hitter and a pure Fire-type. Entering Zen Mode, however, causes it to turn a teal green and curls up into a largely stationary ball, appropriately enough, as if in a meditative stance. When in Zen Mode, it gains the Psychic-type and its defensive and special-attack stats skyrocket at the cost of its physical stats.
* Meganada in the second ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' has two stances that he can switch between, one based on physical attacks and defense and the other on magic and magic resistance.
** The first form of the FinalBoss of the first game had this as well. Each time their HP drops below a certain point, they switch between their Vishnu and Shiva forms. Vishnu is a more passive stance, mainly inflicting StandardStatusEffects on the party (although it does have the nasty [[LiterallyShatteredLives Vaikunta]] spell), and Shiva focuses on dealing raw damage.
* ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII'':
** The game has a "sword arts" system, that allows you go into an alternate mode where you hold your weapon differently and gain new attacks.
** The FinalBoss swaps between four completely different movesets in his first phase, making it hard to predict what's coming and forcing the player to learn ''four'' boss movesets rather than just one.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' has the Attack and Guard Stance system. Allies adjacent to an attacking unit will follow up their attacks, while allies that have paired up with another unit increase their stats and nullifies an attack after the shield gauge fills, in addition to negating all attacks made by an Attack Stance unit. A skill (Attack & Guard stance) exists that adds the follow up attack ability to Guard Stance units, but removes the ability to negate enemy follow up attacks.
* ''VideoGame/AtelierSophieTheAlchemistOfTheMysteriousBook:'' Party members can take an Offensive or Defensive stance in battles:
** Offensive does more damage, and performs bonus attacks.
** Defensive does less damage, but can block enemy attacks.
** Two or more characters in the same stance can combine to perform powerful offensive or defensive actions, depending on the Chain gauge and their position on the VisualInitiativeQueue.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Nioh}}'', the player can hold their weapons in one of three stances. A high stance produces slow, but strong attacks; a low stance allows for weak, but quick strikes; and a middle stance balances the two out, while also being the easiest stance for [[DefendCommand blocking incoming attacks]].
* In ''Earthlock: Festival of Magic'' each character has two different stances that they can switch between to change how they fight
** Amon acts like a standard video game thief in his [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Thief]] Stance complete with VideoGameStealing, StandardStatusEffects, and [[CombatPragmatist dirty attacks]] like bleeding cuts. In his Blaster Stance he acts more like an alchemist doing elemental damage with a [[NerfArm spud gun]] that fires [[AbnormalAmmo magical potatos]] that you craft yourself in an aversion of BottomlessMagazines.
** Gnart focuses on [[StatusBuff party wides buffs]] in his Focus Stance to the point of [[CripplingOverspecialization not even being able to attack]]. His Pestle Stance acts more like a standard WhiteMage with various healing spells, weak attacks, and a few StandardStatusEffects.
** Olia's [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Warrior]] Stance is your typical fighter with various physical attacks and a few Shouts that augment the party's physical attacks. Her Veteran Stance makes her automatically CounterAttack when enemies attack her and has a varity of [[StatusBuff personal buffs]] and a PracticalTaunt to draw aggro but [[CripplingOverspecialization has no ways of directly attacking]].
** Ive's Scout Stance acts like a {{Foil}} to Amon's Thief Stance with the exact same VideoGameStealing but with [[StatusBuff defensive buffs]] and a healing spell instead of StandardStatusEffects and indirect magical Trap spells that do damage when an enemy attacks instead of straightforward physical attacks. Her Sniper Stance similarly imitates Amon's Blaster Stance but with crossbow bolts instead of potatos and favoring [[ShockAndAwe lightning ammo]] early on instead of Amon's [[PlayingWithFire fire ammo]].
** Taika deals elemental damage in his Predator Stance and can [[PowerCopying copy new elements from enemies]]. In Packmate Stance he instead prevents elemental damage.
** [[spoiler:PAT's ATK-bot Stance has a speed buff and debuff, but mostly does physical and [[ShockAndAwe lightning damage]] with an ActionBomb attack thrown in. DEF-bot Stance lets him grant defensive bonuses to the party and penalties to the enemy based on which [[PowersAsPrograms Upgrade Talents he has equipped]] as well as some tanking abilities.]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII:'' Party members can be assigned one of five stances. The player can override these at the start of each turn, if necessary.
** "Fight wisely" -- balance of attack and defence.
** "Show no mercy" -- all out attack, the stance that uses most magic.
** "Psyche up" -- build up a ChargedAttack.
** "Focus on healing"
** "Use no magic" -- if you want to save MP for later.
* ''VideoGame/BravelySecond'' gives us the Fencer Asterisk, which has three stances. The Wolf Stance focuses on attack, the Aurochs Stance relies on defense, and the Falcon Stance focuses on speed.
* Juna Crawford in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsOfColdSteel III'' is the only character in the game to change between the close range but single target and powerful Striker Mode or the longer range but multiple target weaker Gunner Mode.
* In ''Videogame/SouthParkTheFracturedButWhole'', Mysterion's moveset changes [[TheyKilledKennyAgain depending on whether or not he's alive or dead]]. When alive, he's a GlassCannon who uses martial arts aided by his shadowy power. When he dies, he turns into a ghost who can debuff the enemies but never actually deal damage. His LimitBreak in each mode respectively is a SuicideAttack (he pulls out a bomb) and a revive that is the only way to bring him back to life.

[[folder:Real Time Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'': Druids of the Claw and Talon can shapeshift into bears and crows, giving them more damage and resilience but leaving them unable to cast spells (the expansion allows them to cast their basic spell when shifted). Footmen can use Defend; raising their shields to greatly reduce the damage (and in the expansion, reflect) damage done by some ranged attacks at the cost of movement speed.
* Sort of used in the Chinese Overlord tank from ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'', where you can build on top of them a [[CombatMedic propaganda speaker that heals your troops]], a [[GatlingGood gatling gun]], or a [[AwesomePersonnelCarrier bunker]].
** The American Strategy Center can use 3 different battleplans: "Bombardment", which increases unit attack power and equips with an artillery piece, "Hold the Line", which increases unit defence and improves its own armour (depicted as sandbags), and "Search & Destroy", which deploys scanners and improves unit weapon range. The bonii are strong enough to make the American faction play very differently in each mode. They are ''also'' free to be switched at any time, though that takes a few seconds and disables all units to adjust.
* Udyr and Sona in ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' are based around stances.
* Several RealTimeStrategy games have three stances consisting of Aggressive (an attack bonus at the cost of a defence penalty), Defensive (a defence bonus at the cost of an attack penalty), and Balanced (neutral) stances.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'' has a variation where the stances decide how far the squad engages spotted enemies (until destruction/chase for a while and go back/hold position), adding the "Burn" stance (prioritize buildings in range higher than enemy troops) and "Hold Fire" (a, aha, [[{{Pun}} relic]] from the previous games where cloaked units decloaked to attack, automatically switching to hold fire to prevent LeeroyJenkins. Useful against human enemies, but pointless against the computer, who always knows where your sneaky units are). Most units also have a secondary set of stances indicating whether to use ranged or melee weapons. This is relevant because units hit with a melee attack must respond in kind, meaning that all-round units like Tactical Marines will have an easier time defeating ranged combat specialists like Fire Warriors by leaving their usual ranged attack stance. On top of this, units engaged in melee only take 50% ranged damage, so getting into a slugfest can preserve a squad under heavy fire until reinforcements arrive.
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft'':
** Terran Siege Tanks have two modes, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Tank Mode]] and Siege Mode. Siege mode transforms the already-formidable tank into powerful long range artillery, but renders them immobile and unable to defend themselves if the enemy somehow manages to [[ArbitraryMinimumRange get close enough]].
** Zerg Lurkers have to burrow to be able to attack. Burrowing grants them invisibility, but prevents from moving.

* The Alethi swordfighting stances from ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''. Each represents a different fighting style named after one of the Ten Essences, ranging from the elegant Windstance to the brutal Ironstance.
* [[SizeShifter Sky-Scraper]] of ''TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse''. Most of her cards are tagged with Tiny, Normal, or Huge. Playing them replaces her primary card with the version for that size, changing her power - with her standard card, Tiny lets you deploy and recover Link gadgets, Normal provides card draw, and Huge has a sonic thunderclap that can do impressive mass damage - but also risks harming her allies if her damage is increased.