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'Splain Baleful Polymorph to me


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't understand the mechanical aspects of the baleful polymorph spell. It works like beast shape III except that it only serves to turn your target into a small animal.

Okay, so assuming that the target fails its Fortitude save, but makes its Will save, what happens to the creature mechanically? What is its AC? Can it speak? Can it cast spells or use Spell-like Abilities?

In my Red Hand of Doom campaign, the party wizard previously turned a dragon into a sparrow and I winged the results (no pun intended). Now he's done it again to a barbed devil, turning it into a bunny. I assume it no longer has spines and a "barbed defense". Can it use the barbed devil's SLA's Can it talk?


If it passes a Fort save, nothing happens. If it fails, it must make a Will save. If it passes the Will save, it's a bunny rabbit in its physical stats (so no barbs) but it keeps its spell-like abilities - as specified in the spell. If it fails the Will save, it becomes a rabbit mentally as well - it can't even understand language.
For the druid's Wild Shape ability, it likens it to Beast Shape, but adds that you can't speak while using it, implying that with other polymorph effects, you can speak. (See also the polymorph rules p211-212; a disadvantage of using Baleful Polymorph on enemies is that their equipment is melded into their bodies, making it hard to loot them.)
The bestiary has stats for bat, lizard, rat, raven, toad and weasel under Familiar - you could use any of them for calculating AC. Let's say a rat is closest to a rabbit. AC is then 14.
However, it keeps its hit dice, so it becomes a twelve hit dice rat/rabbit with around 48HP.

(Edit: The reply below is probably more correct.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

1) Select in which " Small or smaller animal of no more than 1 HD" the target is polymorphed;

2) The target "lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function."

3) The "gain any of the natural attacks of the base creature, including proficiency in those attacks." and "If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: climb 30 feet, fly 30 feet (average maneuverability), swim 30 feet, darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, and scent" (from Beast shape I), "climb 60 feet, fly 60 feet (good maneuverability), swim 60 feet, darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, grab, pounce, and trip" (from Beast shape II) and " burrow 30 feet, climb 90 feet, fly 90 feet (good maneuverability), swim 90 feet, blindsense 30 feet, darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, constrict, ferocity, grab, jet, poison, pounce, rake, trample, trip, and web" (from Beast shape III).

4) You change the target characteristic as follow: "Small animal: If the form you take is that of a Small animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Dexterity and a +1 natural armor bonus.", "Tiny animal: If the form you take is that of a Tiny animal, you gain a +4 size bonus to your Dexterity, a –2 penalty to your Strength, and a +1 natural armor bonus." or "Diminutive animal: If the form you take is that of a Diminutive animal, you gain a +6 size bonus to your Dexterity, a –4 penalty to your Strength, and a +1 natural armor bonus."

Edit: I hadn't included tiny

5) If the initial shape was smaller than small or larger than medium you apply this table changes too:

Creature's Original Size Str Dex Con Adjusted Size
Fine +6 –6 — Small
Diminutive +6 –4 — Small
Tiny +4 –2 — Small
Large –4 +2 –2 Medium
Huge –8 +4 –4 Medium
Gargantuan –12 +4 –6 Medium
Colossal –16 +4 –8 Medium


Let's look at our barbed devil, because dragons are wonky. He fails his fort save but makes his will save and becomes a bunny. Rabbits are probably size tiny (about the size of a housecat), so his strength drops by 2, his dex goes up by 4, and he gains +1 natural armor. This gives him a strength of 21 and dex of 27. The end result would look something like this:

Str 21, Dex 27, AC 31 (+8 dex, +11 natural, +2 size)
CMB +15 (+19 grapple), CMD 33
Melee attack bonus: +15 (but no melee attack abilities, see below)

He loses his natural attacks for being a barbed devil and gains none, since rabbits don't have natural attacks worth speaking of.
He also loses "all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on [his] original form", so Barbed Defense, Fear, Grab and Impale are all out. However, he retains his SP abilities, and may continue to use them.

Rabbits do not have the ability to speak, so the barbed devil does not either. It should be noted that Spell-like Abilities have no somatic or verbal components, and therefore can be used in devil or bunny form with the same ease.

Otherwise, everything else pretty much stays the same. All of its feats and skill remain (adjusted to the new ability scores), HD, HP, saves (again, adjusted), DR, resistances, immunities, known languages and ability to communicate telepathically.

His base speed may or may not change. I am unsure the base speed of a rabbit in Pathfinder, as I cannot find a proper analogue in a printed sourcebook. A sprinting rabbit is faster than a sprinting human, so the base speed might increase to 40.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Rat Barbed Devil (Hamatula) CR ? [I used a rat as we have the full stats of the creature]

LE Tiny outsider (devil, evil, extraplanar, lawful)

Init +8 [increased dexterity]

Defense

AC 21, touch 16, flat-footed 13 (+8 Dex, +2 size +1 natural)
[the natural armor bonus is tricky. As written it should not be reduced as it is a SU or EX ability, but I feel it should be replaced by the new natural armor bonus. Note that a natural armor bonuses don't stack with another natural armor bonus, so he would have either +] or +, not +

hp 138 (12d10+72) (constitution or hd don't change)

Fort +14, Ref +16, Will +8

Defensive Abilities All SU or EX and dependant on the original form, lost

Offense

Speed 15 ft., climb 15 ft., swim 15 ft.

Melee bite +19 (1d3+5)

Special Attacks fear It retain it but he has no claw to use it,

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th) )all retained)

At will—greater teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only), hold person (DC 17), major image (DC 17), produce flame, pyrotechnics (DC 16), scorching ray (2 rays only)

1/day—order's wrath (DC 18), summon (level 4, 1 barbed devil 35%), unholy blight (DC 18)

Statistics

Str 19, Dex 27, Con 22, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 18

Base Atk +12; CMB +15; CMD 33

Feats Alertness, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Improved Critical (claws), Iron Will, Power Attack

Languages Celestial, Common, Draconic, Infernal; telepathy 100 ft.
[can't speak but comprehend them, telepathy will work]

Special Abilities

lost Barbed Defense (Su) A creature that strikes a hamatula with a melee weapon, an unarmed strike, or a natural weapon takes 1d8+6 points of piercing damage from the devil's barbs. Melee weapons with reach do not endanger a user in this way.

Fear (Su) A barbed devil's fear attack affects any creature it damages with its claws. A DC 20 Will save resists this effect, otherwise the victim becomes frightened for 1d4 rounds. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

lost Grab (Ex)A barbed devil can use its grab attack against a foe of up to Medium size.

lost Impale (Ex) A barbed devil deals 3d8+9 points of piercing damage to a grabbed opponent with a successful grapple check.

- * -

A hell of a rat :-)

I could have missed something, but not much. [corrected for tiny and not diminutive]

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mauril, natural armor bonuses don't stack

And a rabbit bite can damage you, especially with a strength of 21 behind it.

DR 10/good; Immune fire, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10; all depend on the original form.

SR 22 probably it stay, you are right.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks, guys. Very helpful. I wish Hero Lab had a "baleful polymorph" button that would calculate all this for me!

Shadow Lodge

How can there possibly be a thread about a devil turned into a bunny with a 21 Str, DR, Spell and Energy Resistance and yet not a single Monty Python reference in the thread yet?!?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
PatientWolf wrote:
How can there possibly be a thread about a devil turned into a bunny with a 21 Str, DR, Spell and Energy Resistance and yet not a single Monty Python reference in the thread yet?!?

OK - "That rabbit's dynamite!"

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

If it makes the will save after failing the fort save...
What is its AC?

10+new dex mod + new size mod +ring of deflection + any spells on it +the natural ac from wildshape. They loose their armor bonus and their own natural armor bonus.

Can it speak?

No. Under the polymorph rules you are limited to the sounds an untrained animal of your new type can make, so you're stuck growling and squawking.

Can it cast spells

Only if it has natural spell, or it can use all the components of its new form. Someone polymorphed into a raccoon that can borrow a spell component pouch can probably pull off Silent spells. Someone polymorphed into a pig will need a silent, stilled spell.

or use Spell-like Abilities?

Yes. They activate by force of will, which the character still has if they've made the will save.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Edit: I see I mistyped some text in the AC comment:

[the natural armor bonus is tricky. As written it should not be reduced as it is not a SU or EX ability, but I feel it should be replaced by the new natural armor bonus. Note that a natural armor bonuses don't stack with another natural armor bonus, so he would have either +1 or +10, not +11]


The DR and resistances come from his subtype (which he retains) and not on being a barbed devil. At least, it seems that way to me. If the SR stays, so should the other resistances.

I do agree that the natural armor bonuses probably don't stack.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm, the devil subtype don't give any DR.
and I would say that independently from him retaining his subtype the immunity and resistances are linked to his physical make up, not to him being part of a race.

A Elf is a subtype of the humanoids, but he would lose low light vision.


Now the question is, did Pathfinder make polymorphing more confusing or less confusing than 3.5?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Delthyn wrote:

Now the question is, did Pathfinder make polymorphing more confusing or less confusing than 3.5?

More confusing in regards to negative polymorph effects like baleful polymorph, as well as polymorph any object. Everything else polymorph is absolutely less confusing.


If elemental resistances go, I'd say spell resistance goes too. Which fine by me. Makes Plymouth more transmutation and not just putting on a rubber suit.

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