Polymorph Other

Level: 4   Schools: Alteration
Range: 5 yds./level   Components: V, S, M
Duration: Permanent   Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: 1 creature   Saving Throw: Neg.

The polymorph other spell is a powerful magic that completely alters the form and ability, and possibly the personality and mentality, of the recipient. Of course, while a creature with a lower Intelligence can be polymorphed in form into something with a higher Intelligence, it will not gain that creature's mental ability. The reverse--polymorphing a higher Intelligence creature into one of significantly lower Intelligence--results in a creature much more intelligent than appearances would lead one to believe. The polymorphed creature must succeed on a system shock (see Table 3) roll to see if it survives the change. After this, it must make a special Intelligence check to see if it retains its personality (see following).

The polymorphed creature acquires the form and physical abilities of the creature it has been polymorphed into, while retaining its own mind. Form includes natural Armor Class (that due to skin toughness, but not due to quickness, magical nature, etc.), physical movement abilities (walking, swimming, and flight with wings, but not plane shifting, blinking, teleporting, etc.), and attack routines (claw/claw/bite, swoop, rake, and constriction, but not petrification, breath weapons, energy drain, etc.). Hit points and saving throws do not change from the original form. Noncorporeal forms cannot be assumed. Natural shapeshifters (lycanthropes, dopplegangers, higher level druids, etc.) are affected for but one round, and can then resume their normal form.

If slain, the polymorphed creature reverts to its original form, though it remains dead. (Note that most creatures generally prefer their own form and will not willingly stand the risk of being subjected to this spell!) As class and level are not attributes of form, abilities derived from either cannot be gained by this spell, nor can exact ability scores be specified.

When the polymorph occurs, the creature's equipment, if any, melds into the new form (in particularly challenging campaigns, the DM may allow protective devices, such as a ring of protection, to continue operating effectively). The creature retains its mental abilities, including spell use, assuming the new form allows completion of the proper verbal and somatic components and the material components are available. Creatures not used to a new form might be penalized at the DM's option (for example, -2 to attack rolls) until they practice sufficiently to master it.

When the physical change occurs, there is a base 100% chance that the subject's personality and mentality change into that of the new form (i.e., a roll of 20 or less on 1d20). For each 1 point of Intelligence of the subject, subtract 1 from the base chance on 1d20. Additionally, for every Hit Die of difference between the original form and the form it is assuming, add or subtract 1 (depending on whether polymorphed form has more Hit Dice [or levels] or fewer Hit Dice [or levels] than original, respectively). The chance for assumption of the personality and mentality of the new form is checked daily until the change takes place.

A subject acquiring the mentality of the new form has effectively become the creature whose form was assumed and comes under the control of the DM until recovered by a wish spell or similar magic. Once this final change takes place, the creature acquires the new form's full range of magical and special abilities.

For example: If a 1 Hit Die orc of 8 Intelligence is polymorphed into a white dragon with 6 Hit Dice, it is 85% (20 - 8 Intelligence + 5 level difference [6-1] = 17 out of 20 = 85%) likely to actually become one in all respects, but in any case it has the dragon's physical and mental capabilities. If it does not assume the personality and mentality of a white dragon, it knows what it formerly knew as well.

The wizard can use a dispel magic spell to change the polymorphed creature back to its original form, and this requires a system shock roll. Those who have lost their individuality and are then converted back maintain the belief that they are actually the polymorphed creature and attempt to return to that form. Thus, the orc who comes to believe he is a white dragon, when converted back to his orc form, steadfastly maintains he is really a white dragon polymorphed into the shape of an orc. His companions will most likely consider him mad.

The material component of this spell is a caterpillar cocoon.

Last modified: May 3rd, 2000