Polymorph form limitations


Rules Questions

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

When you take the polymorph spell, you get to choose 4 forms per level of the spell you can cast.

So if I take it as a 3rd-level spell, I get 12 forms. That is clear.

But is that 12 forms subject to the limitations of polymorph III? Or is it 4 forms subject to the limitations of polymorph III, 4 that are subject to the limitations of polymorph II, and 4 that are subject to the limitations of polymorph I?

Does it make any difference that I can switch the forms with every level up? When I level up, can I choose to have ALL of my form choices be as powerful as can be?


I strongly suspect it is the latter option, because that’s how Summon Creature works - four options locked to each level you can cast.


Could you link to the spell or put the spell description here? I can't find it in the core rules or armory. Is it in the pact world book? I didn't download it to my one drive so it's taking forever to download.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I suspect you're right, Xenocrat. If all 12 forms had the powers of polymorph III, I'd never be able to cast polymorph as a 1st- or 2nd-level spell. I doubt that was the developers' intent.

Magyar5 wrote:
Could you link to the spell or put the spell description here? I can't find it in the core rules or armory. Is it in the pact world book? I didn't download it to my one drive so it's taking forever to download.

It's in Alien Archive 2, which is still in the process of being released. I can't link to it, since it isn't on the official site yet, and I can't post the spell and its rules until the book hits its street release date (if I post it too soon, the moderators would delete it).

In any case, it's 8 pages worth of rules, and I want people to buy the book, so I'm disinclined to type all that up anyways. Sorry for the inconvenience.

EDIT

What qualifies as "special abilities," as described in the polymorph rules?

According to the rules, my polymorph III forms get two special abilities, or three if I am restricting myself to those of a specific real creature. However, the wording is confusing to me, and I can't seem to figure out if that is referring to movement modes, racial traits, senses, or other things. The premade forms sampled in the book aren't helping much, as they all seem to have too few or too many for their level.

Say I wanted to cast it as a 3rd-level spell to turn into an owl. I get three special abilities. If I pick blindsense (sound) 15 ft., low-light vision, and flight, is that really all I get? Do I get the claw attack in addition, or does that count against the limit?


No worries. I had suspected this was the case as I have managed to get Pact Worlds downloaded and didn't see it there.

May I assume then that this is, like some other spells, one which is capable of being advanced from level 1 to lvl 6?

If so then there are some rules around those spells that may be applicable although I haven't gotten the pdf for alien archive 2 yet.

When you cast a variable level spell, the effects are all based on the spell slot level you choose when you cast the spell.

According to your example you stated you get 4 forms per level of the spell you cast. Unless the spell explicitly states that you must choose those forms from a specific list or spell level then I would say that they are a total number of forms of the highest spell level you cast.

So in your example, you chose polymorph level 3, you would receive 12 forms. (4 per level X 3rd level = 12 forms). Unless the effects of the spell explicitly state that 4 of the forms must have the powers of polymorph 1, 4 of the forms must have the powers of polymorph 2, and 4 of the forms must have the power of polymorph 3, then it would behave like any other variable length spell and you would have access to 12 forms with powers of polymorph 3.

I don't really see this as problematic for a GM. You can only choose one form. This simply gives you more choices. Unless there is some kind of interaction between specific forms and power levels this shouldn't break the game in any way.

That being said, I don't have the book yet so can't see the entirety of the text. I am only capable of using the variable level rules around spells from the Core rulebook.


Well, let's define special ability.

"SPECIAL ABILITIES
A number of classes and creatures gain the use of special abilities, many of which function like spells. A special ability is either a spell-like ability, a supernatural ability, or an extraordinary ability. See Special Abilities on page 262 for more information."

Blind-Sense = Yes
Low-light vision = Yes
Flight = No (this is a form of movement and is not an extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like ability).


Claw attack (not a special ability). It's just a natural form of attack.

P.S. That wording for special ability is found on page 332 in the core rulebook in the Magic and Spells section. I figure that is the most applicable since this is a spell.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks, Magyar5.

I wonder though, if the polymorph rules are using that definition of "special ability" or its own when it sets those limitations.


I wish I could see the entry. Unless the spell defines what constitutes a special ability, then we can assume that the definition by the core rulebook applies. Page 262 has the following things listed

Blindsense
Blindsight
Damage Reduction
Darkvision
Energy Resistance
Incorporeal
Invisible
Low-Light Vision
Sense Through
Spell Resistance
Telepathy

Does the polymorph spell description contain those abilities or additional ones? I suspect that there are more in the alien archives (1 & 2) but they usually have the Su/Ex/Sp tags on them.


Like if you look at the Electrovore entry in the AA, you see that it has quite a few abilities that are special

Darkvision
Lowlight vision
Electricity Immunity (a form of Energy Resistence)
Electrical Discharge
Siphon

So I think this spell would require quite a bit of work on the players part.


Ultra light wings says... "When deployed, the wings provide you with an extraordinary fly speed with clumsy maneuverability according to the model of ultralight wings you have."... flight does seem like a extraordinary ability in some cases and a Supernatural ability in others (defy gravity).....not sure how that interacts with the spell i don't have access to ......just wanted to point that out


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah. Hard to figure out how some of these example forms were built. It almost looks like Natural Attacks count as special abilities, but the rules text doesn't seem to explicitly support that.

The Kalo form looks right. 2 Special Abilities for a CR 3 Expert, one bonus since this is a specific creature. They took a sensory ability from the Polymorph 2 list (low-light vision), resistance 5 from the defensive abilities list, and then a racial trait.

The higher level options are definitely a little all over the place.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Brew Bird wrote:
The Kalo form looks right. 2 Special Abilities for a CR 3 Expert, one bonus since this is a specific creature. They took a sensory ability from the Polymorph 2 list (low-light vision), resistance 5 from the defensive abilities list, and then a racial trait.

Does the swim speed not count as one of the special abilities?

Brew Bird wrote:
The higher level options are definitely a little all over the place.

Is it possible that they didn't take all of the special abilities they could have? So some could have taken, say, four abilities, but only needed three to make the concept form work?


Xoshak4545 wrote:
Ultra light wings says... "When deployed, the wings provide you with an extraordinary fly speed with clumsy maneuverability according to the model of ultralight wings you have."... flight does seem like a extraordinary ability in some cases and a Supernatural ability in others (defy gravity).....not sure how that interacts with the spell i don't have access to ......just wanted to point that out

Certain items can grant you Extraordinary/Spell-like/Supernatural abilities which all fall in to the 'Special ability' category however these are typically expressly stated as doing so (see example from Xoshak).

In the case of the spell (and again I don't have reference to it.... yet... ) I believe that your gear becomes part of the new form and wouldn't grant you any additional abilities. (this is typically how it has worked in the past.)

I would examine the forms and spot check what would and wouldn't be considered a special ability. For example, an owl's flight wouldn't be a special ability as it naturally has wings and it's the accepted form of movement for that creature, whereas an Asteray's flight ability is considered supernatural (this is actually called out in the Alien Archive with the SU tag)

Looking through the Alien Archive it seems that Paizo is pretty good at calling out abilities that are SU/EX/SP with the appropriate tags. A Contemplative is very slow (5 ft move) unless it uses it's SU fly ability. It has no wings so it makes sense that the fly ability is SU. Yet a Dragon with wings even has a listed fly ability that is EX. So it looks like Paizo has done a good job in AA 1 in calling out specifically if an ability is special with the SU/SP/EX tags beside the ability. Otherwise it is probably safe to say it's an ability that is part of the form. Taking the Dragon as an example (because everybody loves Dragons) the Multiattack wouldn't be a special ability as it is just part of the form as is the Breath Weapon and the crush ability. However Sound Imitation, flight, Damage reduction and Immunities would all be Special abilities.


Magyar5 wrote:

Like if you look at the Electrovore entry in the AA, you see that it has quite a few abilities that are special

Darkvision
Lowlight vision
Electricity Immunity (a form of Energy Resistence)
Electrical Discharge
Siphon

So I think this spell would require quite a bit of work on the players part.

Likely why they are going with something similar to the monster summoning where you have to pick 4 per spell casting level of it so the players don't don't go into massive analysis paralysis. Once you pick what then write up some quicky stuff for them to keep with you so if you chose to go into that form you have everything you need ready to go.


I can't imagine you need more than 4 or 5 anyways. I would categorize their usage and pick forms based on that.

Combat
Espionage
Influence
Travel
Counter

Things like that. Then pick a form that fills that role fairly well or even could do well in 2 rolls.

Espionage and Travel go well together... you could do a sparrow.. or a "insert local wildlife" form.

Anyways.. that's how I would approach it. By level 6 you have 24 forms. Get your notecards ready!


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

No kidding. I'm having trouble just trying to get 2 statted up. I dread the other 10.


I can't wait to get the pdf for AA2. It already sounds interesting.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Magyar5 wrote:
I can't wait to get the pdf for AA2. It already sounds interesting.

Yeah, following this thread is getting me hyped up :>


Magyar5 The point was fly is either a (Ex) or (Su) monster ability .....Fly (Ex or Su)

The source of the creature’s fly speed (whether extraordinary, supernatural, or from another source such as an item) is noted before its maneuverability. Unless otherwise noted, a creature whose ability to fly is extraordinary can’t fly in a vacuum.

Format: Speed fly 60 ft. (Ex, perfect).

As Listed Under Universal Creature rules

Universal Creature rules ....

The following are special abilities you can choose when creating a creature, many of which appear in the various aliens here. Most rules have a format entry that gives an example of how the rule is noted in a stat block. Many also have a guidelines entry to help GMs who are adding the ability to new creatures determine its damage or other values. If an ability allows a saving throw, the save DC is determined by the array and CR of the creature using it.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Can natural attacks have poison? I'm looking at my pdf and haven't figured it out. Is it a special ability?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Now that more people have access to the book, does anyone else have any further ideas of how to build forms properly?

If my group doesn't get clarification, we may never be able to use it.

You get the following number of abilities, based on what it is you're casting:

No | CR | Spell
----------------------------
01 | 01 | polymorph I
02 | 03 | polymorph II
02 | 06 | polymorph III
02 | 09 | polymorph IV
03 | 12 | polymorph V
03 | 15 | polymorph VI

If you aren't making up some melting pot, fevered dream monstrosity, but limiting yourself to a known creature's abilities, you can select one additional ability. So the highest possible is 4 abilities.

The question is, what qualifies as "abilities" in regards to the polymorph spell? The book doesn't clearly define what is or is not an ability that you can choose for the purposes of your polymorph form.

Is vision an ability? Land speeds? Other movement modes?

The book gives you a list of abilities, but it isn't the least bit clear on whether or not that is the list you choose your abilities from.

The example forms given also don't seem to match what the rules say. Several of the lower level ones seem to have more than four abilities, while many of the higher level examples don't seem like they are poaching all of the abilities they could be.

If a developer could give a handful of examples of how one would build a polymorph form (not just the final example) that might help to clear things up a little bit. More importantly though, we need to know precisely what abilities we can and cannot select with our polymorph forms, and which abilities/stats we get for free, if any.

GeneticDrift wrote:
Can natural attacks have poison? I'm looking at my pdf and haven't figured it out. Is it a special ability?

I imagine that it would be. Poison is extremely powerful in Starfinder.


Universal Creature rules ....

The following are special ABILITIES you can choose when creating a creature, many of which appear in the various aliens here. Most rules have a format entry that gives an example of how the rule is noted in a stat block. Many also have a guidelines entry to help GMs who are adding the ability to new creatures determine its damage or other values. If an ability allows a saving throw, the save DC is determined by the array and CR of the creature using it.

that's all I got in regard to what's a ability

as for poison it's not on the list of universal creature rules in the base book but maybe in the alien archive


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*cough* The way I read it is, the abilities you can choose for a form, are the abilities listed under the "Special Abilities" section of Polymorph. If you want anything else, you need special GM permission.


Ravingdork wrote:

Now that more people have access to the book, does anyone else have any further ideas of how to build forms properly?

If my group doesn't get clarification, we may never be able to use it.

You get the following number of abilities, based on what it is you're casting:

No | CR | Spell
----------------------------
01 | 01 | polymorph I
02 | 03 | polymorph II
02 | 06 | polymorph III
02 | 09 | polymorph IV
03 | 12 | polymorph V
03 | 15 | polymorph VI

If you aren't making up some melting pot, fevered dream monstrosity, but limiting yourself to a known creature's abilities, you can select one additional ability. So the highest possible is 4 abilities.

The question is, what qualifies as "abilities" in regards to the polymorph spell? The book doesn't clearly define what is or is not an ability that you can choose for the purposes of your polymorph form.

Is vision an ability? Land speeds? Other movement modes?

The book gives you a list of abilities, but it isn't the least bit clear on whether or not that is the list you choose your abilities from.

The example forms given also don't seem to match what the rules say. Several of the lower level ones seem to have more than four abilities, while many of the higher level examples don't seem like they are poaching all of the abilities they could be.

I'm ready and able to talk about this now.

Important notes:

1. You get one movement mode for free, it doesn't count against your abilities. You can select additional movement modes as abilities. So take that into account when evaluating whether a prebuilt form has too many abilities.

Page 143 wrote:
Movement: Each polymorph spell or ability details what changes to movement, if any, your polymorph form can grant. Your polymorph form can grant one form of movement without it counting against its maximum number of special abilities, but any additional forms of movement must be selected as special abilities.

2. At higher level spells, you can only select one defensive ability, but that defensive ability can provide multiple resistances. So if a prebuilt Polymorph 3 spell has Resistance 5 to both Cold and Fire, that's actually only one ability.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yeah, I found out about point 1 on my own about a week ago.

Not sure if I agree with point 2 though. Many places in the polymorphism rules seem to say you can take something once, but really mean "once per slot." What's more, creature type/subtype or racial traits might be what grants multiple resistances, so I can't say for sure the special defenses option in itself can. Whole thing is kind of messy.


Ravingdork wrote:

Yeah, I found out about point 1 on my own about a week ago.

Not sure if I agree with point 2 though. Many places in the polymorphism rules seem to say you can take something once, but really mean "once per slot." What's more, creature type/subtype or racial traits might be what grants multiple resistances, so I can't say for sure the special defenses option in itself can. Whole thing is kind of messy.

I think there are two and potentially three different ways to get resistances. (1) You can pick one and only one "defensive ability" subcategory of Special Abilities. This can be any of the options allowed by that particular level of the polymorph spell. Some of those options grant multiple resistances, but are only one instance of a defensive ability. (2) You can also pick one or more "racial trait" subcategory of Special Abilities. Some of these also give energy resistance, and do not conflict with your one selection of a (spell defined and limited) defensive ability. (3) You may also, if your GM allows, be able to select an "other abilities" subcategory of Special Abilities. This could be a resistance that a creature has that is not a PC block racial trait.

So if you're creating your own creature with Polymorph 6, you could pick an elemental (fire) subtype to get fire immunity (doesn't count against Special Abilities), ask your GM to take cold immunity from a monster that has it (say a white dragon) as an "other ability" he has to approve, take resistance 15 to acid and sonic as your one "defensive ability" (doesn't have to be tied to any particular monster, it's just provided as an option by the spell level), and then as your third and final special ability take resistance 5 electricity from a PC racial trait that has it as an option.

I feel like I can understand the polymorph rules without too much confusion, but I also feel like the examples don't follow them very well and should be ignored.

Edit: Actually, you can't combine fire immunity from elemental form with cold (or other immunity) as an "other ability" because those can only be allowed if you base your form on a specific creature, not mix and matching for those. I doubt they'll ever publish a fire elemental subtype creature that has additional resistances/immunities you could take via this route.


Cloud Giant looks like a really good form to give a soldier or solarian ally who is maxing out his bull rush modifier via feats, soldier class abilities, or that armor upgrade. Big reach and speed upgrade, and you can take Knockback to have it trigger on every melee attack, plus Hurl Debris is an option if you want ranged bull rushes to try to knock people off platforms or ledges.


Could someone explain to me how there are sample forms for a blue dragon and a dragonkin? I don't see where any of the polymorph spells allow making dragon type forms. I just got AA2, and the polymorph rules are kinda intimidating. Sorry if this wasn't an appropriate place to post this!


You can get fly, a breath weapon, energy resistance, and a natural weapon without picking a particular form, just say you’re a humanoid shaped dragon meld.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Phformian wrote:
Could someone explain to me how there are sample forms for a blue dragon and a dragonkin? I don't see where any of the polymorph spells allow making dragon type forms. I just got AA2, and the polymorph rules are kinda intimidating. Sorry if this wasn't an appropriate place to post this!

They never took the dragon type (which would be illegal), they merely picked a number of abilities that allowed them to mimic draconic forms.

Does make me wonder if they get the +10 disguise bonus to look like one or not though.

You'd think if it's a made up form you wouldn't get the +10 bonus.

Otherwise, I could take the construct type, a host of disparate abilities, tell the GM that my mutant form looks entirely like a mundane dog, and get a +10 bonus to disguise checks to prance around town looking like a dog?

That doesn't sit well with me.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It just occurred to me that you could probably cast polymorph IV on the party's melee soldier or solarian to give them a "charging form" with the following traits:

40 ft. movement speed (free movement trait) Your base movement speed is 40 feet (which, since it replaces your normal base speed, likely stacks with any other speed boosting abilities you might possess).

Ferocious Charge (uplifted bear) When you charge, you can attempt a trip combat maneuver in place of a normal melee attack. In addition, you can charge without taking the normal charge penalties to your attack roll or AC. If you have another ability that allows you to charge without taking these penalties (such as the charge attack ability from the soldier’s blitz fighting style), you also gain the ability to charge through difficult terrain.

Momentum (ferren) You deal an additional amount of damage equal to your character level with your first melee attack after you move at least 10 feet in the same round.

Pounce (dromaeosaurid) When you charge, you can also make a full attack.

How's that for a buff spell?


^^^ I don’t think you can take pounce without limiting yourself to dinosaur abilities, I think extra abilities are tied to specific forms.

The ultimate grapple buff is six armed and grappler from skittermander, plus the ghibrani full attack grapple ability, size increase and movement boost to taste.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:

^^^ I don’t think you can take pounce without limiting yourself to dinosaur abilities, I think extra abilities are tied to specific forms.

The ultimate grapple buff is six armed and grappler from skittermander, plus the ghibrani full attack grapple ability, size increase and movement boost to taste.

Cross-posting from here.

Ravingdork wrote:

Reading over the polymorph rules carefully, I think you can take almost everything more than once (using up ability slots) except for defenses. :P

--- Parsing/Phrasing ---

Defensive Abilities: You can select only one of the defensive options listed for the level at which you cast the spell, and it counts toward the maximum number of special abilities the form can grant.

Wording here is pretty strict. What's more, it seems to be supported by the spell descriptions. In this case, I think "only one" means "only one."

Movement: Your polymorph form can grant one form of movement without it counting against its maximum number of special abilities, but any additional forms of movement must be selected as special abilities.

Clear as day that you can get more than one movement mod if you want.

Racial Traits: When selecting a racial trait for a polymorph form, you can select any one player character racial trait...

The initial text is ambiguous, but the spell descriptions...

Polymorph I: You cannot grant racial traits.
Polymorph II: The form can grant only one racial trait...
Polymorph III: The form can grant up to two racial traits...
Polymorph IV: The form can grant up to two racial traits...
Polymorph V: The form can grant up to three racial traits...
Polymorph VI: The form can grant up to four racial traits...

...make the intent clear.

Senses: Each of the sense options a given polymorph spell can grant the target counts as a single special ability that counts toward the maximum number of special abilities a polymorph form can grant.

The description is clear: you can get more than one sense if you wish.

Other Abilities: ...the GM may allow you to select one of that creature’s special abilities or traits so long as the creature has a CR no higher than the spell’s maximum CR...

I don't believe this is a hard limit, so much as poor wording much like the racial trait entry. I suspect it really means "select one per ability slot you're willing to use up."


I'm not sure which parts of this are supposed to be responsive to what I said.

Here's what I'm saying: there are two ways to do polymorph.

(1) "Generic creatures." A made up amalgamation of stuff and mixing of forms, which allows you to pick from the generic menu of stuff without reference to real creatures, with the exception of racial traits, which are conceptually tied to real creatures, but are nevertheless allowed for generic creatures.

(2) "Specific creatures." Based on a specific alien, this has two benefits and one restriction. The benefits are that (a) you can have one more special ability than usual, and (b) you can choose "other abilities" options with GM approval. But the restriction is that you cannot touch all the usual generic options and everything you pick must be an ability that the specific creature has.

Pounce is not available to a generic creature through one of the usual categories of special ability. You have to take it as an "other ability" from a specific creature (in your example, a dromaeosaurid), so you can't take ANY other abilities that a dromaeosaurid doesn't have. That includes the two racial traits you selected.

Here's my rules support for believing this.

Special Abilities wrote:
Each version of a polymorph spell has a maximum CR. When you design a polymorph form, the target can gain the same maximum number of special abilities as an expert NPC of a CR equal to the spell’s maximum CR (using the array on page 130 of the Alien Archive). Alternatively, if you base your form on a specific creature (which must be of a CR no higher than the spell’s maximum CR), you can select only abilities that the base form has, but you can select one ability more than the normal maximum.

This is clear, once you base your form on an actual creature, you can take an extra special ability, but you can't select ANY options that the creature doesn't have. No resistances it doesn't have, no movement modes it doesn't have, no breath weapon it doesn't have, no racial abilities it doesn't have, etc.

Next:

Other Abilities wrote:
If you’re designing a polymorph form based on a specific creature, the GM may allow you to select one of that creature’s special abilities or traits so long as the creature has a CR no higher than the spell’s maximum CR.

So here we see that we can ONLY take a special "other ability" (like pounce) if we base it on a specific creature. But as we saw in the previous rule, once we base something on a specific creature, we can't take any abilities that specific creature doesn't have.

So pounce can't be mixed with racial abilities, because (right now, and probably always) no PC race has pounce. If one does, you'll be able to take pounce as a racial ability itself, and this won't be relevant anymore.

The balance reason for this is clear. If you can freely dumpster dive for "other abilities" among monsters and mix them together you can get some really powerful combos. So they don't let you do this. If you want a powerful ability, you can't mix it, it has to stay with abilities the designer already gave that monster. Mixing and matching is limited to the generic creature abilities, such as PC racial traits, movement, breath weapon, a single defensive ability, etc.


So let's discuss subtypes. Do they restrict your options? How?

1. Can you take a PC racial ability from an aberration or monstrous humanoid without taking that subtype, which would require higher level spells in some cases?

Racial Traits wrote:
Racial Traits: When selecting a racial trait for a polymorph form, you can select any one player character racial trait of a race that grants such rules and that does not refer to or require any equipment, armor, armor upgrade, or drone upgrade to function. For example, you could select the exceptional vision trait of an android (gaining both low-light vision and darkvision), but not the upgrade slot ability (since it refers to armor upgrades). Additionally, the target can never gain racial ability adjustments, racial Hit Points, feats, or skill ranks from a polymorph spell’s effects. Each level of the polymorph spell has specific restrictions regarding spell-like abilities.

Nothing here about subtypes, it looks like once you can take a racial trait (Polymorph 2), you can take any of them even if the underlying PC race is a subtype that spell can't adopt.

2. Can you only disguise yourself as a specific creature if you can adopt its subtype?

Appearance wrote:

When a polymorph form is that of another creature, the target appears to be that creature. You decide at the time of designing

a polymorph form if its appearance is generic (allowing the target to look like any general example of that type of creature, but never a specific creature) or specific (causing the target to always look like one specific individual that does not change between castings). As a disguise, this change in appearance is perfect, granting the target a +10 bonus to Disguise checks (either to appear to be a typical version of a generic form or a specific individual when using a unique form). In addition, the DC of the target’s Disguise checks isn’t modified due to altering major features or disguising itself as a different race or creature type. The DC increase for disguising itself as a different size applies only if an observer knows its size is incongruous with the form (see Size on page 143). The GM can alter or eliminate the bonus to Disguise checks based on the target’s behavior, such as talking in animal form or other conduct outside the norm for a shape.

So I think this is saying that you have to choose the specific creature option (with the limitations and advantages that brings) if you want to disguise yourself as such a creature. It doesn't, however, directly talk about subtype. Let's look at spell text.

Polymorph level 1 wrote:
1st: Casting polymorph as a 1st-level spell allows you to transform the target into one of the four 1st-level polymorphed forms you know. Your polymorphed forms must comply with the additional restrictions that follow. Unlike most polymorph effects, these forms are close enough to the target’s true form to make the target recognizable, and they cannot duplicate any other specific individual. Each form must be of the animal or humanoid type.

I think this restricts you from adopting specific creatures (both for disguise and "other abilities" purposes) unless your spell level supports adopting the subtype of that specific creature. So you can never attempt a dragon or outsider disguise (or get their special abilities) because those never become options from the polymorph spell.

This also provides a reason for middle range spells to provide subtype options that don't provide mechanical benefits, like aberration and monstrous humanoid. Unlike construct, plant, undead, etc., they don't give immunities or resistances, but they do open up new categories of creature for disguise and "other ability" purposes.

3. What about gear?

Equipment wrote:

If the polymorph form granted by a spell is of the same creature type as the target’s true form, the armor, weapons, and other equipment the target had at the time of casting remain visible and accessible and are changed by the magic to be usable in the new form. If any item is out of the target’s possession for more than 1 round, it reverts to its normal form.

If the polymorph form is of a different creature type than the target’s true form, the spell causes the target’s armor (including any armor upgrades and the abilities of powered armor) to continue to function and be able to be activated by the target regardless of the character’s form. However, the armor isn’t visible in polymorph form, and it can’t be targeted or accessed (such as to change batteries) by either the target or other creatures. All other equipment is unavailable in a polymorph
form of a different type and cannot be used, activated, targeted, or modified by either the target or other creatures

So this actually gets kind of weird for non-humanoid PC races. An aberration PC who polymorphs into a specific aberration form gets to keep its weapons! But a humanoid who polymorphs into a monstrous humanoid doesn't, even if it has normal hands and arms. This might matter for certain forms with "other abilities" you want to acquire but still be able to hold and use your weapons. For most PCs giants are probably the only worthwhile specific creature forms that provide any "other ability" options worth taking, but weird subtypes will have more options.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Your polymorph form does not have to be that of a real creature. It can be a made up from based on an amalgam of disparate abilities. If it is a real creature, however, you get to decide if it's a generic version of that creature, or if it's a specific form every time.

If I'm making a mutant amalgam form with the dinosaur's features, then how is that not "based on the dinosaur?"

You may well be right that I can't poach multiple "other abilities," but I don't think it's as clean cut as you seem to think.

There's a lot of problems with the polymorph rules. They are poorly worded, unclear or contradictory on a number of points, and are generally incomplete.

For example, they mention DCs for abilities, but reference calculations like this was Pathfinder. They allow access to abilities like Trample, but give no way to determine the ability's DC.


Ravingdork wrote:

Your polymorph form does not have to be that of a real creature.

If I'm making a mutant amalgam form with the dinosaur's features, then how is that not "based on the dinosaur?"

You may well be right that I can't poach multiple "other abilities," but I don't think it's as clean cut as you seem to think.

There's a lot of problems with the polymorph rules. They are poorly worded, unclear or contradictory on a number of points, and are generally incomplete.

For example, they mention DCs for abilities, but reference calculations like this was Pathfinder. They allow access to abilities like Trample, but give no way to determine the ability's DC.

Yeah, but this particular rule isn't unclear. Yes, your polymorph form does not have to be that of a real creature. But if you don't make it a real creature, you can't have "other abilities." You can only have "other abilities" if you imitate a particular alien with that "other ability." Once you do that, you're locked out from taking any abilities of any kind that specific alien doesn't have.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Again, I don't think it's as clear cut as that. Being based on something could easily mean being based on in part.


Ravingdork wrote:
Phformian wrote:
Could someone explain to me how there are sample forms for a blue dragon and a dragonkin? I don't see where any of the polymorph spells allow making dragon type forms. I just got AA2, and the polymorph rules are kinda intimidating. Sorry if this wasn't an appropriate place to post this!

They never took the dragon type (which would be illegal), they merely picked a number of abilities that allowed them to mimic draconic forms.

Does make me wonder if they get the +10 disguise bonus to look like one or not though.

You'd think if it's a made up form you wouldn't get the +10 bonus.

Otherwise, I could take the construct type, a host of disparate abilities, tell the GM that my mutant form looks entirely like a mundane dog, and get a +10 bonus to disguise checks to prance around town looking like a dog?

That doesn't sit well with me.

Thanks! So type and subtype only really matter if they are on the list of sub/types that give resistances or if they are determining how equipment works (absorbed vs. adjusted). Otherwise they're just flavor, right?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Phformian wrote:
Thanks! So type and subtype only really matter if they are on the list of sub/types that give resistances or if they are determining how equipment works (absorbed vs. adjusted). Otherwise they're just flavor, right?

Looks that way.

Check with your GM though. They may not like the idea of you turning into an elf, but taking the vermin type just for the bonuses.


Phformian wrote:


So type and subtype only really matter if they are on the list of sub/types that give resistances or if they are determining how equipment works (absorbed vs. adjusted). Otherwise they're just flavor, right?

It's not clear, but I think the intent is that if you want to imitate a specific creature (and obtain access to "Other Abilites" or imitate the form for disguise purposes), rather than mixing and matching the menu of general abilities you have to adopt (and be able to adopt) that subtype.

See my further thoughts on subtype rules in this post.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:

So let's discuss subtypes. Do they restrict your options? How?

1. Can you take a PC racial ability from an aberration or monstrous humanoid without taking that subtype, which would require higher level spells in some cases?

Racial Traits wrote:
Racial Traits: When selecting a racial trait for a polymorph form, you can select any one player character racial trait of a race that grants such rules and that does not refer to or require any equipment, armor, armor upgrade, or drone upgrade to function. For example, you could select the exceptional vision trait of an android (gaining both low-light vision and darkvision), but not the upgrade slot ability (since it refers to armor upgrades). Additionally, the target can never gain racial ability adjustments, racial Hit Points, feats, or skill ranks from a polymorph spell’s effects. Each level of the polymorph spell has specific restrictions regarding spell-like abilities.

Nothing here about subtypes, it looks like once you can take a racial trait (Polymorph 2), you can take any of them even if the underlying PC race is a subtype that spell can't adopt.

2. Can you only disguise yourself as a specific creature if you can adopt its subtype?

Appearance wrote:

When a polymorph form is that of another creature, the target appears to be that creature. You decide at the time of designing

a polymorph form if its appearance is generic (allowing the target to look like any general example of that type of creature, but never a specific creature) or specific (causing the target to always look like one specific individual that does not change between castings). As a disguise, this change in appearance is perfect, granting the target a +10 bonus to Disguise checks (either to appear to be a typical version of a generic form or a specific individual when using a unique form). In addition, the DC of the target’s Disguise checks isn’t modified due to altering major features or disguising itself as a different race or creature type. The DC increase for
...

Would you please post your questions in this thread for the benefit of all? (Please post them individually so they can be properly FAQ'd.)


Done.


One note on limitations: I think you can bypass the lameness of natural weapons by adopting a specific creature form and using one of your "other abilities" to adopt a called out weapon ability. Once you can do constructs (level 5-6) technomancers could get some sweet integrated weapons. I presume you'd use the listed damage dice. Unlike natural weapons, they're not free selections, and individual creatures that have these weapons seem to lack other good options, making it difficult to use all of your ability selections effectively, so I don't think it's unbalanced.


Xenocrat wrote:
One note on limitations: I think you can bypass the lameness of natural weapons by adopting a specific creature form and using one of your "other abilities" to adopt a called out weapon ability. Once you can do constructs (level 5-6) technomancers could get some sweet integrated weapons. I presume you'd use the listed damage dice. Unlike natural weapons, they're not free selections, and individual creatures that have these weapons seem to lack other good options, making it difficult to use all of your ability selections effectively, so I don't think it's unbalanced.

After some additional thought, there are issues with this. Are you proficient? If so (or not), do you use your regular attack bonus (including stuff like Versatile Weapon Focus feat), or default to the bad natural attack stats? I suspect the latter is the best way to handle this, which makes this still not great. You might be able to pick up better damage or cool effects from an integrated weapon, but if you can't hit reliably it doesn't matter much.

Sovereign Court

Having just read through the rules, it seems quite clear that unless you pick a specific creature to mimic you cannot take funky abilities that are not specifically called out under the rules. So pounce is only available when duplicating a creature that has pounce, but then you are limited to what that creature has and cannot take other abilities from elsewhere.

Bit disappointing as I was hoping to make some interesting combos, but alas, no.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The bigger issue is that your attack bonus with a natural weapon is capped by the Polymorph spell. Good if you're a squishy wizard who has low melee attack bonus in the first place ( the Polymorph spell replaces your attack bonus ), bad if you're anything else ( the Polymorph spell replaces your attack bonus ).

( I can't remember the exact formula, but IIRC it boils down to roughly the maximum CR for the level of spell used. )


Metaphysician wrote:

The bigger issue is that your attack bonus with a natural weapon is capped by the Polymorph spell. Good if you're a squishy wizard who has low melee attack bonus in the first place ( the Polymorph spell replaces your attack bonus ), bad if you're anything else ( the Polymorph spell replaces your attack bonus ).

( I can't remember the exact formula, but IIRC it boils down to roughly the maximum CR for the level of spell used. )

If you take a natural weapon through the free natural weapon option your to hit is capped at 1.5 CR, to a max of 3xspell level. So no more than 18 at 16th level, which is...bad, but maybe not much of a penalty if you're a dex build caster receiving the spell.

If you take a natural weapon by spending a racial trait (to, for example, get the Vesk natural weapon racial trait), I presume you can use your usual attack bonuses.

If you take a natural weapon by spending a special ability on an "other abilities" option from a specific creature (like a robot's integrated laser) I have no idea what you use as your attack bonus. Since it's not free I want to give you your regular attack bonus and assume proficiency, but what about specialization if you don't have Versatile Specialization? Do you just get the monster's damage block regardless? Ask your GM, he has to approve you taking it in the first place.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ellias Aubec wrote:

Having just read through the rules, it seems quite clear that unless you pick a specific creature to mimic you cannot take funky abilities that are not specifically called out under the rules. So pounce is only available when duplicating a creature that has pounce, but then you are limited to what that creature has and cannot take other abilities from elsewhere.

Bit disappointing as I was hoping to make some interesting combos, but alas, no.

Being based on something could easily mean being based on in part.

I'm not saying that's right, but there's certainly enough wording leeway in the rules to allow for such an interpretation.

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Starfinder / Rules Questions / Polymorph form limitations All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.