Shapechanging is Dead


Combat & Magic

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The new group of spells actually makes shapechanging into something people won't do anymore (though they did it rarely before). Here are the reasons:

1. No meaningful natural armor gained. Considering that the rules are silent regarding what happens to your real armor, this means that any spellcaster who tries to turn into a monster to fight is going to die quickly.

However, Druids are still the best shapechangers because they can use Wild magic Dragonscale Full Plate.

2. All the fun of dumpster diving with none of the choices.
We now have a dozen spells that don't actually give you any range of choices, but you still have to search through books to find a form with one of the few available powers.

Looks like Sorcerers just took another hit.

3. Everything is an enhancement bonus: Characters will already have enhancement bonuses, so additions from shapechanging magic are either minor bonuses or ineffective because they won't stack.

4. Flavorful things gone: People who dabble in dark pacts can't turn into demons, metal mages can't become golems, and necromancers can't become undead beasts. Not cool.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Psst. Check your SRD again:

"This spell functions like alter self, except that you change the willing subject into another form of living creature. The new form may be of the same type as the subject or any of the following types: aberration, animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, ooze, plant, or vermin."

Your dark dabblers, mechamages and grim necromancers already couldn't turn into outsiders, constructs or undead.


1: They really need to clarify this. Do you keep your normal armor..? Are you gaining the CREATURES NA + the bonus listed?

3: I agree here as well. If they made the bonus Racial it would work well.

Then again if you are losing all your items/bonuses when you change you WONT have an enhancement bonus when you change will you..?


Personally, I like the new Shape spells. I like that they are tiered spells that dont grant you all of the abilities of a form assumed. Polymporphs were a very abused and loosely defined spell type. I like the more structured style of the new spells and the steady increase of mastery of the new forms.

-Weylin Stormcrowe


Demiurge 1138 wrote:

Psst. Check your SRD again:

"This spell functions like alter self, except that you change the willing subject into another form of living creature. The new form may be of the same type as the subject or any of the following types: aberration, animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, ooze, plant, or vermin."

Your dark dabblers, mechamages and grim necromancers already couldn't turn into outsiders, constructs or undead.

You do know that there was lots of ways to get a type, right? Tielflings could turn into demons with alter self because they were Outsiders. Half-golems with metals arms became Constructs, and there were lots of ways to become undead. Basically, the fun is gone.

That being said, shapechange let you turn into anything. Now it moves around an enhancement bonus.

Liberty's Edge

K wrote:
4. Flavorful things gone: People who dabble in dark pacts can't turn into demons, metal mages can't become golems, and necromancers can't become undead beasts. Not cool.

Yes they can (theoretically). Just not via polymorph.


[Insert Neat Username Here] wrote:
K wrote:
4. Flavorful things gone: People who dabble in dark pacts can't turn into demons, metal mages can't become golems, and necromancers can't become undead beasts. Not cool.
Yes they can (theoretically). Just not via polymorph.

People who dabble in dark pacts probably have a few levels of Infernal or Abyssal Bloodline Sorcerer. There's the flavor.


Weylin Stormcrowe 798 wrote:
[Insert Neat Username Here] wrote:
K wrote:
4. Flavorful things gone: People who dabble in dark pacts can't turn into demons, metal mages can't become golems, and necromancers can't become undead beasts. Not cool.
Yes they can (theoretically). Just not via polymorph.
People who dabble in dark pacts probably have a few levels of Infernal or Abyssal Bloodline Sorcerer. There's the flavor.

And they still can't turn into anything.


K wrote:
Considering that the rules are silent regarding what happens to your real armor, this means that any spellcaster who tries to turn into a monster to fight is going to die quickly.

Not so, K.

Alpha Release 2, page 64, under Polymorph Subschool wrote:


When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function whilst melded in this way (with the exception of armour bonuses which cease to function).

Emphasis mine. So you lose your armour... wizards and sorcerers were never really well-armoured anyway, and they shouldn't be. A fighter can take the hits, and a spellcaster can manipulate the very nature of reality. When you think about it, who's getting the raw deal?


As has been said by others, I'd prefer that threads kick off without all the drama exploding in this first post.

That being said:
1) It is helpful to have natural armor if you're charging into combat. Now that power attack is gimped, it's less important, but it's still handy.
It would be possible to replace the caster's armor, natural armor, etc. with a flat natural armor bonus.
2) There's nothing that says these are the only transformation spells. Undead and fiendish casters should be able to take different spells to go down that path.
3) I like that casters that change in size get the size bonuses - although it could be clearer in the spell descriptions, I think. Size bonuses to strength and con will stack with enhancement bonuses.

Edited to add: I think I misread the size adjustments; you just get the penalties to armor class and to hit, the adjustment to CMB, and not the other size bonuses.

My concerns here are: A) the natural armor is pretty close to canceled out by the AC penalty and B) the initial size of the spellcaster doesn't seem to be affected - a halfling shaping into an large bear gains the same amount of strength as an ogre shaman shaping into a large bear.

I wonder how this'll work out in playtesting. Hm.


Regarding not being able to turn into outsiders. Keep in mind that we have not even seen a tenth of the spells that will be in Pathfinder RPG. Entirely possible there will be high llevel spells that allow you to turn into a outsider to one degree or another.

-Weylin Stormcrowe


K, we get it, you hate everything they're doing with Pathfinder -- even if you don't, your posts imply it, with the constant barrage of criticism and snide, superior tone. I'm curious -- why not just stick with 3.5? Or, better yet, put your creativity where your mouth is and make your own 3.75?


ahh... come on calm down guys.

Polymorph was bound to be done something with, and my guess is more will be added, and I'm sure plenty of change is yet to come.

Like I said on the other thread, I don't really buy the concept that 2/3rds of the spell list is broken...actually that claim drives me up the wall but I knew that polymorph would be altered in some way.

Also, we don't have a complete spell list...hell we don't even have a quarter spell list. I wouldn't be suprised to see some other spells. That may not make K happy given I understand his complaint about the sorc and the splitting of spells, but I also understand the trouble with polymorph.

Also, to note from the other thread:

Jason Bulmahn (Lead Designer), 31 minutes ago Reply
Jason's avatar

Some of the monster types are currently missing. To be honest, I wanted to make sure the concept floated before moving on to some of the others (but not all... ).

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Blue_eyed_paladin wrote:
K wrote:
Considering that the rules are silent regarding what happens to your real armor, this means that any spellcaster who tries to turn into a monster to fight is going to die quickly.

Not so, K.

Alpha Release 2, page 64, under Polymorph Subschool wrote:


When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function whilst melded in this way (with the exception of armour bonuses which cease to function).
Emphasis mine. So you lose your armour... wizards and sorcerers were never really well-armoured anyway, and they shouldn't be. A fighter can take the hits, and a spellcaster can manipulate the very nature of reality. When you think about it, who's getting the raw deal?

I missed that.

So its confirmed that if a spellcaster turns into a monster, it'd better not be for combat because his AC will be so low its suicide.


David Jackson 60 wrote:

Also, to note from the other thread:

Jason Bulmahn (Lead Designer), 31 minutes ago Reply
Jason's avatar

Some of the monster types are currently missing. To be honest, I wanted to make sure the concept floated before moving on to some of the others (but not all... ).

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

That is what I was thinking. Personally I really do like what Jason has done with the polymorph spells.


I am all for breaking the shapechanging spells up into a tiered system. It worked pretty well for the Monster Summoning. And it breaks what to me was a major area of abuse in spells.


Weylin Stormcrowe 798 wrote:
I am all for breaking the shapechanging spells up into a tiered system. It worked pretty well for the Monster Summoning. And it breaks what to me was a major area of abuse in spells.

I wouldn't mind that.

All I want out of shapeshifting is:

1.
I can fight as a monster. I don't even want to be as good as a fighter....I just want to contribute.

2. I'd like to use it as a utility spell for movement.

3. I want to occasionally use things like dragonfire.

So, this change wins on point 2 and fails utterly on point 1 and 2. Considering when dimension door and teleport come into the game, the new shapechanging magics aren't even competitive on point 2.


Dudes, it's in the nature of the beastthat we're going to focus on things that need ot change, not thigns that we like. Though I may make a list of those at some point.

the enhancement bonuses to stats are more useufl than they might seem, thanks to Paizo's new item slot rules, but still alittle underwhelming. The Natural Armor *does* need to be better.

I'm concerned by the complexity of applyig these spells; each one has its own list of thigns it can work with, and that list isn't even enumerated. You still have to dumpsterdive to find out what you can and can't do. I'd prefer a list of forms in the spell, even if the DM is invited to add more, and maybe make the abilities a sort of "choose three" deal, rather than making the spell's power dependent on the number of monster manuals you own.


How about instead of flat NA and Str/dex boost and a list of abilities you might get giving a list of specific options along with their benefits..?

Beas t Shape I
School transmutation (polymorph); Level wizard/sorcerer 3
Casting
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a piece of the creature whose form you
plan to assume)
Effect
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 min/level (D)
Description
When you cast this spell you can assume the form of
any Small or Medium creature of the animal type. If the
form you assume has any of the following abilities you
gain the listed ability: climb 30 feet, f ly 30 feet (average
maneuverability), swim 30 feet, darkvision 60 feet, lowlight
vision, and scent.
Bear: You gain +2 racial bonus to strength and a +4 bonus to Natural armor. You also gain 10ft reach and scent
Owl: small size, Lowlight vision, darkvision 60ft and fly 30ft. +2 dex, +2 NA.

And so on.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Thomas Mack 727 wrote:

Bear: You gain +2 racial bonus to strength and a +4 bonus to Natural armor. You also gain 10ft reach and scent

Owl: small size, Lowlight vision, darkvision 60ft and fly 30ft. +2 dex, +2 NA.

This was considered, until we realized how long the list would be for some of the spells.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Perhaps a short list of some of the best options with a note telling DMs to allow players to choose other creatures, but to keep within this range of strength?

You could set some guidelines like: All stat bonuses should be physical and no bonus to any stat, or to natural armor, should be higher than 2/4/6/8 (depending on version of spell) and no granted abilities should be stronger than those listed in the examples (which would improve with version of the spell).

This would allow players a bit more freedom of choice. I like my Huge sized beasts with a bit of dex, con and NA after all. It isnt all about strenth. :D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I don't like that polymorph is gone.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

SirUrza wrote:
I don't like that polymorph is gone.

I am sorry that you feel that way, but considering its problems, polymorph, as a single spell, will not be coming back. It is far too complicated, cumbersome, and easily exploited.

The goal with the new spells was to create a number of spells that could be easily balanced against each other. I don't think they are perfect yet, but they are a step in the right direction.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
The goal with the new spells was to create a number of spells that could be easily balanced against each other. I don't think they are perfect yet, but they are a step in the right direction.

See my Polymorph thread. THERE are ways of bringing it back... you even did it in the current build.. you just named it wrong. :P

The Exchange

Weylin Stormcrowe 798 wrote:
I am all for breaking the shapechanging spells up into a tiered system. It worked pretty well for the Monster Summoning. And it breaks what to me was a major area of abuse in spells.
K wrote:

I wouldn't mind that.

All I want out of shapeshifting is:

1.
I can fight as a monster. I don't even want to be as good as a fighter....I just want to contribute.

2. I'd like to use it as a utility spell for movement.

3. I want to occasionally use things like dragonfire.

So, this change wins on point 2 and fails utterly on point 1 and 2. Considering when dimension door and teleport come into the game, the new shapechanging magics aren't even competitive on point 2.

Well, if we are talking about wizards and sorcerers, I think this is a slightly bogus comment - fighting is what fighters and other martial classes do, it isn't and should never be a core competency of the arcane casters. I would suggest that if seeing this as the reason for the new spells to fail is making it "broken", then I would suggest this resolution by Jason is bang on target. Given that we have threads saying how terrible fighters are as a class, presumably because a wizard can totally steal their thunder with a moderate level spell, then the issue is more with the spell than with fighter class, I would suggest. (I know it isn't the reason, but it is a contributing factor.) As an occasional trick it is fine, but I hardly think it leaves the character unable to contribute - there are plenty of ways for an arcane caster to get involved that don't necessarily involve turning into a creature of nightmare and laying down the smack (while the fighter buffs his nails).

For druids, where changing shape is, on the other hand, one of the main reasons for taking the class, I think this comment might have more substance, if it is genuinely the case that the ACs and other factors leave them underpowered. So far as I can tell, the changes mainly make the effects scaleable, as they are bonuses to existing attributes, so I'm not convinced whether this is even a problem for druids, but playtesting will tell.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The Alpha also mentions:

If your new form does not cause your equipment to meld into your
form, the equipment resizes to match your new size.

I take it that humanoid, monstrous humanoid and giant shapes allow you to benifit from armor.

I do think that the point about the bonuses being enhancement is valid but I'm not sure it's serious a problem. Perhaps a Size bonus would do, Racial would screw up already existing bonuses unless they stack witch I don't think they do.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Thomas Mack 727 wrote:

Bear: You gain +2 racial bonus to strength and a +4 bonus to Natural armor. You also gain 10ft reach and scent

Owl: small size, Lowlight vision, darkvision 60ft and fly 30ft. +2 dex, +2 NA.

This was considered, until we realized how long the list would be for some of the spells.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Just an idea here...

How about putting the benefits in the stat blocks for the creatures? Say you want to turn into a bear, you look up the bear stat block and there is a line or two that gives you all the benefits for "shapechanging" into one. That way the spell description doesn't get too long and you are only adding a couple lines to the creature stat block.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
I don't like that polymorph is gone.

I am sorry that you feel that way, but considering its problems, polymorph, as a single spell, will not be coming back. It is far too complicated, cumbersome, and easily exploited.

The goal with the new spells was to create a number of spells that could be easily balanced against each other. I don't think they are perfect yet, but they are a step in the right direction.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Hopefully I'll be able to post some feedback on some of the various changes while playtesting this friday after running Seven Swords of Sin for my group. I agree that polymorph was just a big headache and my group rarely ever even bothered using the spell because it was just too complicated. The new spells so far have been much simpler and defined. I think you all did very well.


K wrote:
Weylin Stormcrowe 798 wrote:
I am all for breaking the shapechanging spells up into a tiered system. It worked pretty well for the Monster Summoning. And it breaks what to me was a major area of abuse in spells.

I wouldn't mind that.

All I want out of shapeshifting is:

1.
I can fight as a monster. I don't even want to be as good as a fighter....I just want to contribute.

2. I'd like to use it as a utility spell for movement.

3. I want to occasionally use things like dragonfire.

So, this change wins on point 2 and fails utterly on point 1 and 2. Considering when dimension door and teleport come into the game, the new shapechanging magics aren't even competitive on point 2.

The caster ought to still be able to cast spells AFTER he's transformed to up his AC. And it looks like spells like Stoneskin, displacement and the like won't be affected, so you can still make yourself hard to hit. You just lose the ability to do it via the polymorph spells itself (i.e., no more "one spell does it all").


I don't even pretend to understand why they decided to go the PHB2 route for polymorph. It didn't work in the PHB2 and we have no reason to believe that it will work now.

Tying it to monster entries at all is painful and dumb. Alter Self will give me a Swim speed, I shouldn't have to dumpster dive through the Monster Manuals to find an aquatic version of whatever I want to turn into (the killer app, by the way, is the Sahuagin Mutants because they get the swim speed and the darkvision and look just like normal elves). I should just look like whatever I want and get a Land Speed and a Swim Speed.

These spells could be a lot more versatile and a lot easier to use and a lot more predictable in their effect by simply not referencing the Monster Manual.

-Frank

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Frank Trollman wrote:


Tying it to monster entries at all is painful and dumb. Alter Self will give me a Swim speed, I shouldn't have to dumpster dive through the Monster Manuals to find an aquatic version of whatever I want to turn into (the killer app, by the way, is the Sahuagin Mutants because they get the swim speed and the darkvision and look just like normal elves). I should just look like whatever I want and get a Land Speed and a Swim Speed.

These spells could be a lot more versatile and a lot easier to use and a lot more predictable in their effect by simply not referencing the Monster Manual.

-Frank

That's a very good point. The Alpha polymorphs seem to already be headed in that direction... perhaps a bit more of a push is needed?


There are a number of ways of changing polymorph, and all of them will be unsatisfying to someone.
1) Make a big list of forms similar to the Summon Monster N list. Drawback: You can end up with a small, overly exclusive list or a big, overly unwieldy list.
2) Have some criterion for monsters (CR or HD or ECL < N, e.g.). Drawback: Poorly-balanced monsters can be easily abused.
3) Have a list of possible powers that the caster can pick from (like the menu of powers an Astral Construct gets to pick from). Drawback: If the caster always picks the "best" powers, every polymorph form will look the same (mechanically). Also, the menu could end up being too small or too large (like #1).

It looks like we've got #3 in this case, with a dash of #2. I'm not sure what my preference is, but method #2 is probably my least favourite.

ObPedantic: Sahuagin are monstrous humanoids and are thus are not possible to emulate with Alter Self.

Frank Trollman wrote:

I don't even pretend to understand why they decided to go the PHB2 route for polymorph. It didn't work in the PHB2 and we have no reason to believe that it will work now.

Tying it to monster entries at all is painful and dumb. Alter Self will give me a Swim speed, I shouldn't have to dumpster dive through the Monster Manuals to find an aquatic version of whatever I want to turn into (the killer app, by the way, is the Sahuagin Mutants because they get the swim speed and the darkvision and look just like normal elves). I should just look like whatever I want and get a Land Speed and a Swim Speed.

These spells could be a lot more versatile and a lot easier to use and a lot more predictable in their effect by simply not referencing the Monster Manual.

-Frank


#3 is probably best, since it can be balanced and isn't aggressively obnoxious by forcing you to page through every existant monster book to find the thing that you want to turn into.


Voss wrote:
#3 is probably best, since it can be balanced and isn't aggressively obnoxious by forcing you to page through every existant monster book to find the thing that you want to turn into.

Sure, but it loses some flavour to say: "I look exactly like myself, except I can fly and my skin is harder." At which point you've moved from "Polymorph" to "Generic Buff Spell #67". (All IMO, of course.)

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

When you use a polymorph spell (in any of its incarnations), there are two ways of deciding what form to take. The first, is to pick a form that is appropriate to your character concept and the situation at hand. Against this criteria, both systems (3.5 and release 2) worked just fine, but with the 3.5 system, the urging to find a better choice was really strong. The second is to pick the form that is the most powerful. With the 3.5 version, this meant flipping through a horde of books to find the best form possible. With this version, due to the limits of what you can gain, it is quite a bit simpler, and less subjective to find a good form. Its just easier.

We went with this system to keep the versatility of polymorph (to some extent) while balancing this school against other spells. Going the generic "here are some buffs you get, pick any form" route was really not an option because is completely strips the flavor away from these spells.

It should be noted, there will probably be more of these spells to allow you to take on a wider variety of forms. This first batch was to see how the concept as a whole was taken.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


I'm actually all for the idea of something similiar to the "Astral Construct chart" idea, especially for Alter Self. Just give me some options for what I can do with the spell and let me decide how I want it to show up. If I want a +2 to my NA, I can either say my skin takes on a hardened appearance, or I can say I take on the form of a troglodyte.


You know that polymorph is a nuisance, it is way broken and personally I am glad to see it gone from the game. I have always believed that each player should serve a certain role and it really bugged me when the wizard could out perform the warriors of the group by turning into the trolls.


I am confused as to how 'here are your limits, pick any form' is less flavorful than 'pick any form from the books, here are the limits imposed on your form'.

They seem the same to me, but for one, I have dig through a whole stack of books. With the other I can cast the spell and move right on with the game.

Scarab Sages

Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Going the generic "here are some buffs you get, pick any form" route was really not an option because is completely strips the flavor away from these spells.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

I think the players should be expected to stick to an honour system here; that 'what you see is what you get' (WYSIWYG).

For example, if you want a fantastic natural armour bonus, you should become a slow, blubbery, shelled, or carapaced creature. Not assume the shape of a lithe, skinny creature, and have your enemies weapons bounce off, for no apparent reason ("Duh... dis kitty-kat be tough! Why my axe not work? Edge is all blunt!").

Trouble is, the creatures in the RAW aren't remotely WYSIWYG. Without looking, rank these creatures in order of NA;

Lizardfolk
Kuo-Toa
Troglodyte
Rust Monster

Now check the MM; how many of you got it right?
If you did, it's probably only because you had a bad experience during the game.

And players should at least attempt to emulate a creature's normal abilities. No Vorpal Bunnies ("Yeah; I ignored Str and armour, pumped the bite up to 3d6(keen) damage...").


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
When you use a polymorph spell (in any of its incarnations), there are two ways of deciding what form to take. The first, is to pick a form that is appropriate to your character concept and the situation at hand. Against this criteria, both systems (3.5 and release 2) worked just fine, but with the 3.5 system, the urging to find a better choice was really strong. The second is to pick the form that is the most powerful. With the 3.5 version, this meant flipping through a horde of books to find the best form possible. With this version, due to the limits of what you can gain, it is quite a bit simpler, and less subjective to find a good form. Its just easier.

But why keep the book flipping aspect at all? Why not just let people look like whatever they want within the size limits?

If I want to disguise myself as a halfling, I should just do that. I don't want to crack the book open and find out that if I'm specifically a deep halfling then I get Darkvision and if I'm a tallfellow halfling that I don't. That's extremely irritating and it doesn't make the game any more balanced or interesting.

If you're willing to hand out Darkvision in the new form, you should just do that. You shouldn't be forced to comb monster books until you find something that looks like what you want and has all the abilities that the spell will allow you to get.

-Frank

Scarab Sages

Joseph McElroy wrote:
You know that polymorph is a nuisance, it is way broken and personally I am glad to see it gone from the game. I have always believed that each player should serve a certain role and it really bugged me when the wizard could out perform the warriors of the group by turning into the trolls.

You do know that you don't gain fast healing or regeneration, via Polymorph 3.5, don't you?

I have to ask, since the OP got caught out on that one in another thread...


Frank Trollman wrote:


But why keep the book flipping aspect at all? Why not just let people look like whatever they want within the size limits?

If I want to disguise myself as a halfling, I should just do that. I don't want to crack the book open and find out that if I'm specifically a deep halfling then I get Darkvision and if I'm a tallfellow halfling that I don't. That's extremely irritating and it doesn't make the game any more balanced or interesting.

If you're willing to hand out Darkvision in the new form, you should just do that. You shouldn't be forced to comb monster books until you find something that looks like what you want and has all the abilities that the spell will allow you to get.

-Frank

One possibility is to break Polymorph into two spells:

(1) Really Good Disguise (has no game-mechanical effect other than disguising yourself as a monster and maybe a change in size)
(2) Grab Bag of Buffs (gives a variety of buffs, but doesn't change your shape)

In that case, #2 would be useful but wouldn't have much of the "flavour" of Polymorph. I realise that everyone's idea of "flavour" is different, though.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Frank Trollman wrote:


But why keep the book flipping aspect at all? Why not just let people look like whatever they want within the size limits?

Or, do the flipping once, out of combat?

I've kept 3.0's polymorph in my game, but I treat learned forms the same way as learned languages: the character has to buy them at two skill-points apiece. (Transmuters: 1 pt each.)

I give out three forms for free: an oak tree, a large trout, and a hawk. If you're a transmuter and you want to learn to transform into a minotaur, you have to (1) remember a time you encountered a minotaur*, and (2) spend a skill point the next time you rise in levels. And the player needs to record all the forms stats on a 3x5" index card.

Really, it has never been a problem. I don't anticipate it ever will be.

*I suppose that, if a player wanted to make a case that a Knowledge roll of 35 or higher would be good enough, I'd agree.

Scarab Sages

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Thomas Mack 727 wrote:

Bear: You gain +2 racial bonus to strength and a +4 bonus to Natural armor. You also gain 10ft reach and scent

Owl: small size, Lowlight vision, darkvision 60ft and fly 30ft. +2 dex, +2 NA.

This was considered, until we realized how long the list would be for some of the spells.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

It's easy enough to add in, if anyone wants to. I strongly foresee adding some feats to my own Pathfinder games that run along those lines. Something like this (first draft only):

Bear Totem
Prerequisites: Polymorph spell or wildshape ability, Wis 13+
Benefits: When you take an alternate form, you can choose to make that form bear-like. You can do this regardless of the size of form you take. In addition to the normal benefits, you gain +2 Constitution and natural armor equal to half your caster level.

I can easily see individual druids, or even clans of druids, specializing in given shapes the way wizards specialize in specific schools of magic.


Great Job!
I love the approach you are taking with 'Polymorph'. Tiered spells that allows for spellcasters to choose more powerful forms as they themselves become more powerful. IMHO it just make sense. Start the wizard off small with Beast Form I at 5th level, when he gets to 7th level he can now do Elemental Form I and/or Beast Form II. And the progression continues from there. I like it.

I can see some of the reasons for concern with AC and such, but considering that we are in the Alpha phase of things, I'm confident that with the solid base that these spells have at present, most of these issues will be addressed and fixed later on down the road.


Threeblood wrote:

Great Job!

I love the approach you are taking with 'Polymorph'. Tiered spells that allows for spellcasters to choose more powerful forms as they themselves become more powerful.

I agree. I like the approach. My concern is with the mechanic of a bonus or penalty to stats. If you have a Wizard with a 10 STR, and he casts Beast Shape III to become a Huge Animal, he ends up Huge with a STR of 16. Is that enough to move the creature's own weight? Would changing physical attribute scores to some set amount work?


Wow. They should just revert to the old polymorph and draconic polymorph. I mean, there solution is actually horrible, though it does simplify things. I mean, splitting it up is just bad. I mean, bad BAD.

Paizo, just do polymorph and maybe something like greater polymorph (so as not to overstep the OGL into draconic polymorph). And get rid of the enhancement stuff. I understood the polymorph rules in 3.5 very well, and a shapeshifter who becomes used to the rules can do it in a split second. There doesn't need to be yet another fix to it by Paizo.

Also, the Best Shapes etc are vague about some things. For example, it says that if it "has the listed ability" you gain it. What if you find an animal with fly 60ft and it works for BS1? Would you gain the 60ft speed, the 30ft speed or none? Another reason to scrap it.


Gnome Ninja wrote:
Also, the Best Shapes etc are vague about some things. For example, it says that if it "has the listed ability" you gain it. What if you find an animal with fly 60ft and it works for BS1? Would you gain the 60ft speed, the 30ft speed or none? Another reason to scrap it.

This is clarified in the section on the Polymorph Subschool on page 64.

Pathfinder RPG wrote:
If the form you choose grants these benefits, or a greater ability of the same type, you gain the listed benefit. If the form grants a lesser ability of the same type, you gain the lesser ability instead.


I think part of the problem I have is many people classify the Polymorph spells (both 3.5 and the new ones in PFRGP) as combat spells while I personally always saw them more as utility spells. I tended to cast them for their utility and seldom in combat. The combat advantages were just perks to gaining a new mode of travel or disguise.

-Weylin Stormcrowe


Gnome Ninja wrote:
Wow. They should just revert to the old polymorph and draconic polymorph. I mean, there solution is actually horrible, though it does simplify things. I mean, splitting it up is just bad. I mean, bad BAD.

Note that there are still two "non-split-up" versions of Polymorph -- namely, Polymorph Other I & II (not to mention Shapechange). You might not like the implementation of them, but at least they're still all-purpose spells in a way.

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