Polymorph and loss of form-based-abilities


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

HeroLab has resurrected this question in my mind with the addition of polymorph spells as spell-like adjustments.

(Bravo to them, BTW)

The question in my mind has always been what do you lose when you change form.

The official rules answer has always been (unless this has changed) that there are too many cases to enumerate.

Could we not just use the guideline, though, that form-based abilities are defined as those abilities that a polymorph spell can *give* you.

(Not including, incidentally, characteristics changes, which seem to be something totally unrelated to form which a polymorph spell more or less gives you incidentally.)

So, for example, energy resistance is in, spell resistance is out.

Does that sound reasonable?

Richard


If I remember correctly, it is based on form no?

EX abilities are off the table the vast majority of the time.

As for things like energy resistance, is based off the physical form? Are you immune to fire due to your hide or are made of fire? Well that would go away.

Your best bet is to talk to the GM and figure it out for your group. "Reasonable" is a point of view, and not everyone shares the same one.


yeah....you wont get consensus on this


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I found this page to be very useful for describing how polymorph works.

As for what you lose, it's usually stuff like natural attacks, flight from wings etc. Anything physical. Darkvision and low light vision falls in this category as well (if it was granted by your base form).

Energy resistance... depends on the source and even then its debatable.

Is there a specific case you want to look at?

Dark Archive

I think that the fact that Hero Lab now supports it is going to bring this up more, because HeroLab has a little dialog box with all your racial abilities and suggestions on what you should lose.

Until now, I think, we've rather glossed over this.

Having the guideline "what polymorph gives, polymorph can take away" seems like a good starting point, assuming these are Ex abilities I guess.

Richard


As I mentioned before, the game doesn't define it, often for the reason to leave it up to the table. There are many reasons why something may be, defining it can sometimes force issues and make more of a mess of things too.

Dark Archive

What about PFS though?

I thought things had to be rigid for that.

Richard


richard develyn wrote:

What about PFS though?

I thought things had to be rigid for that.

Richard

If it were completely rigid, it would be a board game with no need for a GM. No, while PFS is more 'rigid' than a home game, there is still table variation because no set of rules will have an answer for every strange combination of circumstances and abilities.

So, in this case, no one can really lay down a blanket rule saying which abilities are form based which is why it's left up to the GM. A guideline might be that you lose all Ex abilities gained from your race, while class abilities are learnt and so don't go away. But that is not always true either.

So any specific case you care to use?

Dark Archive

How about the PC core races first.

Start with Dwarves, my proposals:

Slow and Steady: lose
Darkvision: lose
Defensive Training: keep
Greed: keep
Hatred: keep
Hardy: lose
Stability: lose
Stonecunning: lose
Weapon Familiarity: keep

And alternates:

Ancient Enmity: keep
Craftsman: keep
Deep Warrior: keep
Giant Hunter: keep
Lorekeeper: keep
Magic Resistant: lose
Minesight: lose
Mountaineer: lose
Relentless: keep
Rock Stepper: keep
Saltbeard: keep
Sky Sentinel: keep
Stonesinger: lose
Stubborn: keep
Surface Survivalist: lose
Xenophobic: keep
Wyrmscourged: keep

Richard


richard develyn, I am interested in how Stonecunning (a mental ability) would be lost. Could you explain your logic?

Dark Archive

I was reading it more like a "sense".

Richard


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This would be a good subject for a Blog Post by the dev team. That way, it would be clearly defined as guidelines that GMs wouldn't feel compelled to follow (unlike FAQs and Errata).

Dark Archive

Here are my proposals for Elf:

Elven Immunities: keep
Keen Senses: lose
Elven Magic: keep
Weapon Familiarity: keep
Low-Light Vision: lose

Alternates

Arcane Focus: keep
Darkvision: lose
Desert Runner: lose
Dreamspeaker: keep
Elemental Resistance: lose
Envoy: keep
Eternal Grudge: keep
Fleet-Footed: lose
Lightbringer: lose the immunities, keep the rest
Silent Hunter: keep
Spirit of the Waters: keep
Urbanite: keep
Woodcraft: keep

Richard


I have a blinkdog PC in my game who spends all his time posing as a human (druid, 1000 faces)-should he still have his Blink and Dimension Door abilities?

Dark Archive

They're Spell-Like Abilities - it's only the Exceptional ones based on form that you lose.

Richard


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the best way to divine Paizo's intent in these matters is to look to their own materials. In effect, Pathfinder is a self-referential thing. So, are there any modules, PFS scenarios, or APs that have stat blocks for polymorphed creatures in their polymorphed state? Surely, there are some. That would make a breeze to do an a/b comparison and extrapolate only where we need to.

Dark Archive

Even if I am the only person interested in this, I shall carry on anyway :-)

The Gnome:

Defensive Training: keep
Illusion Resistance: keep
Keen Senses: lose
Obsessive: keep
Gnome Magic: keep
Hatred: keep
Weapon Familiarity: keep
Low-Light Vision: lose

Alternates

Academician: keep
Bond to the Land: keep
Darkvision: lose
Eternal Hope: keep
Explorer: keep
Fell Magic: keep
Gift of Tongues: keep
Knack with Poison: keep
Magical Linguist: keep
Master Tinker: keep
Pyromaniac Gnomes: keep
Warden of Nature: keep

Richard


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm finding it interesting, at least. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This question has been asked for ages in regards to reincarnation as well. It basically comes down to determining what abilities are tied to a physical capability unique to that form, and what abilities are tied to the mind/soul.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I find it curious that your proposed rule of thumb is "you lose anything that polymorph can give you," and then you drop keen senses, which is something that polymorph can't give you (a racial bonus on a skill check) - despite the thematic similarities to sensory modes, which polymorph does grant. Note that bonuses to stealth meant to represent camouflage are also not granted despite the fact that you presumably take on the same colouration. (So should they be lost?)

I would agree that a blog post would be necessary to tackle some of the distinctions that would likely be involved.

Dark Archive

Good point.

Basically, when I got to look at this in detail, I read the descriptions of the abilities to see if they sounded like they were based on form or not.

Richard

Dark Archive

Half Elves:

Elven Immunities: keep (I think)
Adaptability: keep
Keen Senses: lose
Low-Light Vision: lose
Elf Blood: lose (form related), keep (non-form-related)
Multitalented: keep

Alternates

Ancestral Arms: keep
Arcane Training: keep
Child of the Sea: lose innate sense of direction, keep the rest
Cold-Honed: lose bonus on Fortitude saves, keep the rest
Drow-Blooded: lose
Drow Magic: keep
Dual Minded: keep
Integrated: keep
Jungle Affinity: keep (I think this is training)
Mordant Envoy: keep
Sociable: keep
Thinblood Resilience: keep
Wary: keep
Water Child: keep language, lose rest

Some tricky choices there. I thought water child had to be more than just a skill because of the ability to take 10, but jungle affinity felt like training.

Richard

Dark Archive

Half Orcses:

Intimidating: keep (it's in their "nature")
Orc Ferocity: keep
Weapon Familiarity: keep
Darkvision: lose
Orc Blood: lose (form related), keep (non-form-related)

Alternates

Acute Darkvision: lose
Beastmaster: keep
Bestial: lose
Burning Assurance: keep
Cavewight: keep
Chain Fighter: keep
City-Raised: keep
Cliffside Charger: keep
Evader: keep
Forest Walker: lose (low-light vision), keep the rest
Gatecrasher: keep
Rock Climber: keep
Sacred Tattoo: lose (assuming you lose your tattoos)
Scavenger: keep (decided this was knowledge based)
Shaman's Apprentice: lose (tricky decision this)
Skilled: keep
Squalid: lose (unlike Scavenger)
Toothy: lose
Unflinching Valor: keep
Warded Skin: lose (assuming you lose your tattoos)

The two tattoo based ones work on the assumption that you lose your tattoos when you change form. Even if the tattoos themselves don't provide protection directly, rather they have a psychological effect, still their loss should result in losing their benefit.

Scavenger sounded like it was a knowledge based thing and Squalid a physical adaptation. Shaman's apprentice also sounded like a physical adaptation but it was close.

All IMBVHO of course :-)

Richard

Dark Archive

Halflings:

Fearless: keep
Halfling Luck: keep
Sure-Footed: lose
Weapon Familiarity: keep
Keen Senses: lose

Alternates

Adaptable Luck: keep
Craven: keep
Fleet of Foot: moot - speeds change with polymorph
Halfling Jinx: keep (su)
Ingratiating: keep
Low Blow: keep
Outrider: keep
Polyglot: keep
Practicality: keep
Shiftless: keep
Swift as Shadows: keep
Underfoot: keep
Wanderlust: keep

Richard

Dark Archive

Wholelings (a.k.a. Humans):

Bonus Feat: lose (form based), keep (otherwise) - this is a whole new area
Skilled: keep

Alternates

Adoptive Parentage: keep
Dual Talent: keep
Eye for Talent: keep
Focused Study: keep
Heart of the Fields: keep (skill), lose (once per day fatigue ignoring)
Heart of the Mountains: keep (skill), lose (acclimatisation to heights)
Heart of the Sea: lose (holding breath for twice as long), keep (rest)
Heart of the Slums: lose (roll twice against disease), keep (rest)
Heart of the Snows: lose (racial bonus against cold climates), keep (rest)
Heart of the Streets: keep
Heart of the Sun: lose
Heart of the Wilderness: keep (survival bonus), lose (rest)
Heroic: keep
Mixed Heritage: keep or lose as appropriate
Silver Tongued: keep

Richard

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Polymorph and loss of form-based-abilities All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.