View Full Version : Polymorph Variant

2009-12-11, 11:22 PM
Just an idea I had recently.

The basic concept is as such: whenever a spellcaster (you can restrict this if you like, to only arcane, or only Druids, or whatever) learns a new spell, instead of learning a spell, he can learn the form of a monster. A monster has an equivalent spell level equal to half its CR (round up) + 1. So a CR 5-6 creature would be a level 4 spell, a CR 7-8 creature would be a level 5 spell, etc.. The spell is cast as a Transmutation (Polymorph) spell, and completely replaces the character's statistics other than mental ability scores. They keep any effects already present so long as they still qualify - if you have 10 points of Strength damage, turning into a Wyvern won't fix that, and it'll null the Enlarge Person effect on you, but you can keep the Mage Armor. The duration is 1 round/level.

You can prepare a monster form as a higher level spell slot to increase the duration; a slot 1 level higher makes the duration 1 minute per level, 2 higher 1 hour per level, and 3 makes it 1 day per level.

It's simple and needs tweaking. But what do you think of the basic idea?

2009-12-11, 11:25 PM
It works, and it's substantially better than the circus that is the PHB Polymorph for a number of reasons. (This is the fix I use, which is similar in spirit (http://dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/Polymorph_Self_%283.5e_Spell%29).) However, I must pose this question: why even keep the mental ability modifiers? The primary problem of the polymorph circus is that it makes you some Voltron-like amalgamation of the best aspects of your character and the monster. You need to get away from that, and be completely replaced by the monster for the spell's duration.

However, at its core it is good because it is explainable in one or two paragraphs which is the right way to go. (Polymorph's second problem is that it's written long instead of short, a fact that compounds its problems massively.)

Also you should prevent people from turning into incorporeal creatures, because that's just not good for the game at levels lower than like 13.

2009-12-11, 11:41 PM
You're right, Incorporeal should be avoided, and the spell you linked to excluded Swarms, too, which should be considered.

The main reason for the mental abilities is twofold: 1, you should keep your own mind and 2, there's really not a whole lot you can do with just those scores. I intended "all your statistics" to include *everything.* No more spellcasting, even if you did just turn into an elf. I could make it more complicated, but as you very astutely noted, Voltron needs to be avoided.