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View Full Version : Polymorph on a Familiar



Nargrakhan
2009-01-08, 05:01 PM
Wizard in the party wants to cast polymorph on his familiar, to transform her into a "catgirl" - he has an anime fetish and been really waiting forever on this. Not really a problem, considering she gains as much as she loses - not a campaign breaker by far - and it will make the player damn happy.

The only thing I'm looking for a bit of guidance, is if the "familiar" powers would transition over... ex: empathic link, speak with cats, improved evasion, spell resistance, etc. Rules for polymorph don't exactly clarify everything in this instance.

How would ya'll more experienced DM rule on this? My gut says let the "catgirl familiar" have them... but I'd just like to hear the larger consensus.

Tacoma
2009-01-08, 05:14 PM
The subject gains the Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of the new form but retains its own Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. It also gains all extraordinary special attacks possessed by the form but does not gain the extraordinary special qualities possessed by the new form or any supernatural or spell-like abilities.


It says what you gain and what you keep. It doesn't say you lose anything at all.

I'd say movement doesn't count as an "extraordinary special quality" since if you transmute a fish into a cat he should be able to walk. So would a cat turned into a fish be able to swim. I think they mean in the list of special abilities that are labeled [EX] or [SU] you don't get any of them except attack forms labeled [EX] only. Since flying, walking, and swimming movement is rarely listed there, you'd get those.

Nargrakhan
2009-01-08, 05:24 PM
Hmmm... I was mostly looking the transition from a "tiny" to a "medium" as what the familiar loses. The cat has been used once or twice for some creative stealth here and there.

***EDIT***
On deeper inspection though, reading what you've pointed out, there's quite a lot of room abuse if the wizard... oh... makes the cat a dragon, and the wizard decides to follow suit.

So RAW the polymorphed familiar gets all it's class-based familiar related abilities (this also counting any Fort/Ref/Will improvement, attribute bonuses, etc as well)? I was thinking as much, but wanted to be sure... will need to wrap my mind around the implications I could get landed into.

Tacoma
2009-01-08, 05:35 PM
This was much worse in 1E where the Magic-User gained the familiar's HP if he were in close proximity. One player had his familiar permanently polymorphed into a creature with 20 HD (I forget which, it was less than rhino-sized) and then had it made into a Figurine of Wondrous Power via a genie wish. He specifically wanted the figurine to actually be the familiar, not like in the Drizzl fiction.

So he got like +100 HP all the time, and if his familiar died it wouldn't actually "die" it would just be unsummonable for a week. So he never had the familiar loss problems. It was dazzling.

As for size issues, look to the MM I believe, the cat will end up losing a lot of AC and attack bonus, losing a lot of Hide, but gain a whole bunch of STR and CON.

SSGW Priest
2009-01-08, 05:44 PM
Wizard in the party wants to cast polymorph on his familiar, to transform her into a "catgirl" - he has an anime fetish and been really waiting forever on this. Not really a problem, considering she gains as much as she loses - not a campaign breaker by far - and it will make the player damn happy.

The only thing I'm looking for a bit of guidance, is if the "familiar" powers would transition over... ex: empathic link, speak with cats, improved evasion, spell resistance, etc. Rules for polymorph don't exactly clarify everything in this instance.

How would ya'll more experienced DM rule on this? My gut says let the "catgirl familiar" have them... but I'd just like to hear the larger consensus.

I say let him have the catgirl familiar, because once the polymorph is completed you have the opportunity to make his life interesting. Some folks who would not bat an eye at a wizard with a standard familiar are going have reactions to a humanoid familiar. Some folks might think it is an imp or homoculus and treat the wizard as evil. Some folks might look at the familiar and go "ick." :smalleek: Is slavery tolerated in your campaign, because some abolitionist might look at the familiar and think it is an enslaved humanoid. There are plenty of opportunities for you to have fun with as the DM.

Shpadoinkle
2009-01-08, 09:50 PM
While the familiar might have better mental stats than a typical member of whatever species it was before it became a familiar, she still has the mentality of the creature she used to be (unless the DM says otherwise, of course).

If she was originally a cat, she might blow the party's cover by exclaiming "A mouse!" and her subsequent attempts to catch it, which might also result in some property damage, for example. Getting her to eat at a table, or teaching her how to use a cup could also be troublesome. She may become depressed because she misses being a cat (or whatever). And then there are the social implications of having someone who acts like that hanging around you, as SSGW Priest pointed out- many people are likely to think she's his slave, or that he's taking advantage of a naieve girl, something even worse.

Frosty
2009-01-08, 09:55 PM
And Catfolk (from Races of the Wild) might attack on sight :smallbiggrin:

The Glyphstone
2009-01-08, 10:24 PM
Wait, does he mean Polymorph Any Object? Polymorph only lasts 1 minute/level, it's going to be a short-term issue unless he keeps casting it over and over.

Assassin89
2009-01-08, 10:28 PM
And Catfolk (from Races of the Wild) might attack on sight :smallbiggrin:

A similar case might occur with lizard folk if one has a lizard familiar.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-01-08, 10:56 PM
Just tell your player that a cat is fine, too.
I'm so very, very sorry, but SOMEONE had to say it.

Neek
2009-01-08, 11:32 PM
Just tell your player that a cat is fine, too.
I'm so very, very sorry, but SOMEONE had to say it.

lol. That's hilarious.

I'd do it as one caveat: She's the catgirl that dies in physics discussions about D&D.

Jack_Simth
2009-01-09, 12:13 AM
***EDIT***
On deeper inspection though, reading what you've pointed out, there's quite a lot of room abuse if the wizard... oh... makes the cat a dragon, and the wizard decides to follow suit.
If he does that, then he's giving you an open invitation to target and kill the familiar (a Dragon IS a target in battle!)... and the familiar only has 1/2 the Wizard's hit points, with his tiny little d4 hit die (plus his Con modifier, of course), and Polymorph doesn't increase your hit points. He may turn his familiar into a Dragon (if it's within the size restrictions), but it's a paper dragon that is very easily killed, and costs the Wizard lots of XP when it dies, and can't be replaced for a year (although it can be hit with a Raise Dead if they keep the body).

Unless you think he's going to get disturbing with it, let him have his catgirl.

MickJay
2009-01-09, 08:34 AM
Of course it's going to get disturbing, that's what I'd do.

Erm.

Never mind :smalltongue:

In any case, having a humanoid familiar is just asking for trouble (misunderstandings and all).

Bayar
2009-01-09, 10:48 AM
Now I want to play a catfolk artificier and be the wizard's familiar :cool:

--
2009-01-21, 05:43 AM
Honestly, I wouldn't allow it on the grounds that it could lead to trouble when he gets access to Polymorph any Object, which done right, I believe can get you a permanent Tarrasque for a familiar.