some unusual uses for polymorph any object


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


What are some you can think of besides the usual "turn some useless object into something useful" and "turn your enemy into a harmless object"? I like the idea of turning a villain who is really racist into the race he hates, as they would probably see that as fate worse than death.


It's a high enough level spell I'd consider it a campaign goal rather than a regular tool. For your goblin who really wants to be a halfling or something like that.


It can be a bigtime get out of jail free card. Carry a statute of a Solar... Make it into the real thing and beg for help...


Stay within the most guaranteed changes, just focus on reducing mobility... animals into plants or minerals without movement, etc...

Highest success rate with the most useful overall effectiveness.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

A nice trick a group of assassins used in one of my games (1st ed. AD&D) was to turn a black pudding into a horse and get the target to ride it, then dispelling the spell. In Pathfinder the black pudding is way less dangerous, so you need to find an appropriate creature, but anything that is almost guaranteed to touch and engulf the character can get good results.


Turn youself into a sandwich.
1: Cast Polymorph Any Object on a sandwich to make it into an intelligent creature not immune to mind affecting stuff
2: Cast True Mind Swap on it
3: Wait the PAO to expire or dispel it.

This requires you be a Psychic and either pay for a PAO on a sandwitch, or build to get PAO on your list (which is doable).

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
pad300 wrote:
It can be a bigtime get out of jail free card. Carry a statute of a Solar... Make it into the real thing and beg for help...

It is a Polymorph effect, you get a winged humanoid without spells, SLA or equipment.

RAW he doesn't even get his special qualities, as Polymorph Any Object reference Greater Polymorph for the abilities granted, and that spell says "If you use this spell to cause the target to take on the form of an animal or magical beast, it functions as beast shape IV. If the form is that of an elemental, the spell functions as elemental body III. If the form is that of a humanoid, the spell functions as alter self. If the form is that of a plant, the spell functions as plant shape II. If the form is that of a dragon, the spell functions as form of the dragon I.
So he gets the benefits of alter self at most.

As a house rule I would allow the new creature to benefits from the special qualities and modifiers granted by the appropriate level 7 or less Polymorph spells, but getting the benefits of Monstrous Physique IV will not do much for our pseudo-Solar, with his starting values of 10 for the physical abilities and 5 for the mental abilities.

"If the target of the spell does not have physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution), this spell grants a base score of 10 to each missing ability score. If the target of the spell does not have mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma), this spell grants a score of 5 to such scores."


Diego Rossi wrote:
pad300 wrote:
It can be a bigtime get out of jail free card. Carry a statute of a Solar... Make it into the real thing and beg for help...

It is a Polymorph effect, you get a winged humanoid without spells, SLA or equipment.

RAW he doesn't even get his special qualities, as Polymorph Any Object reference Greater Polymorph for the abilities granted, and that spell says "If you use this spell to cause the target to take on the form of an animal or magical beast, it functions as beast shape IV. If the form is that of an elemental, the spell functions as elemental body III. If the form is that of a humanoid, the spell functions as alter self. If the form is that of a plant, the spell functions as plant shape II. If the form is that of a dragon, the spell functions as form of the dragon I.
So he gets the benefits of alter self at most.

As a house rule I would allow the new creature to benefits from the special qualities and modifiers granted by the appropriate level 7 or less Polymorph spells, but getting the benefits of Monstrous Physique IV will not do much for our pseudo-Solar, with his starting values of 10 for the physical abilities and 5 for the mental abilities.

"If the target of the spell does not have physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution), this spell grants a base score of 10 to each missing ability score. If the target of the spell does not have mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma), this spell grants a score of 5 to such scores."

The assorted RAW and "rulings" on pao makes no sense and has never made any sense. So it has become pure house rule in campaigns that I have played in (where it has come up at all... there tends to be a tacit "let's not use this" agreement). The whole follow the polymorph chain down thing goes to a null, because there is no polymorph that allows outsiders... So it becomes DM's call, but .."Get out of Jail free card"... hopefully he's not in a "this campaign is over mood", after you're the only survivor, trapped in Caina, with the corpses of 3 of your friends (and assorted enemies) and the BBEG 2 rooms away...

Dark Archive

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Yqatuba wrote:
What are some you can think of besides the usual "turn some useless object into something useful" and "turn your enemy into a harmless object"? I like the idea of turning a villain who is really racist into the race he hates, as they would probably see that as fate worse than death.

Back in a Greyhawk game, using 2nd edition D&D rules, where the polymorphed foe would eventually assume the mental characteristics of the form they were transformed into, an elven wizard would use it to permanently change orcs, etc. into elves, gnomes or fey (races that typically had a low rate of reproduction in that setting). Slowly but surely (but way, way faster than waiting for children of those races to occur naturally!), she was single-handedly raising the 'racial profile' or 'changing the demographics' of the local area, giving it a higher than 'normal' population of elves, in particular (she sure wasn't planning on having elf-babies the usual way!), and replacing various local monsters with easier-live-with fey, like sprites, satyrs, nixies, dryads and treants.

With Pathfinder, I'm not sure how polymorph any object relates to the transformed creatures lifespan, or ability to reproduce, and don't imagine it has any effect at all on their mental state, so turning captured orcs into elves wouldn't really be 'creating more CG nature-loving elves,' so much as making a bunch of evil, violent, short-lived orcs *look* like elves (but still be rotten neighbors, and probably pump out normal orc babies a generation later...).

But hey, 100 cubic feet / level is pretty amazing for if you want to create a massive amount of food. One casting should create enough flour or grain (or jerked meat, or salted fish, or preserved veggies/fruit, whatever) to get the village through a winter in case of a bad harvest year. That might seem like a trivial thing to a high level wizard, but it makes all the difference to those villagers, and is literally life or death!

Also a time-saver for building/construction/mining/excavating. Wizard's tower? A couple hours of architectural figuring to plan it out, a couple of rounds of spellcasting to make it happen, and I have a new building *for the night.* (And it will remain after I leave, never to return to this podunk town. There's one in every village in Varisia. The Wizard What's-His-Name traveled extensively in this region, exploring Thassilonian ruins, and when he happened to hit a town where he'd stayed before, and the tower he'd built was already occupied by 'squatters', as he called them, he'd just make *another* tower, somewhere else on the outskirts of town, so that some towns, close to several sites he wanted to explore over the years, had two or three different towers, in progressive styles, that he'd conjured up to operate out of. The towers were made of whatever material was local to the area, to make the spell longer-lasting, such as wood in forested areas, or stone, in stony areas, so that the transformation was more likely to last forever, and he didn't have to worry about the spell ending suddenly while's he's upstairs having a bath...)

It could be a funky little bit of setting detail, and some wizard being the local equivalent of various real world architects, reknowned for having various signature style homes all over a region, the 'Frank Lloyd Wright' of Golarion, only, his homes are occupied by a combination of rich folk who paid for them, and local families that moved in and 'squatted' successfully after he completed his archaeological dig in that area and more or less abandoned this 'temporary home' he'd whipped up to operate out of.


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PAO = free improved familiar. Pick a basic familiar that shares a superficial resemblance to the creature you want as a familiar. You could turn a lizard familiar into a medium sized "dragon". Or a bird familiar into a 'Phoenix'. Since it is a familiar the creatures loyalty is guaranteed. You could even turn them humanoid to give you another pair of hands to use magic items.

The main problem is the familiar has half of your hp, and doesn't improve as a combat pet as you level. So make a homunculus of whatever hd you can afford, then PAO that into a form you like better. Considering its appearance, you could do most animal forms. Considering what it is constructed from, you could try to convince your GM that an earth elemental would be appropriate or a humanoid considering it uses the master's blood. If you do an earth elemental you could really push things and ask if it could be sculpted and given attacks appropriate to the sculpted form, or make it a humanoid shaped elemental so it gets the stats from an earth elemental but has magic item slots like a humanoid.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

@Set. Good post.
A couple of comments:
- Magnificent Mansion is a lower level spell and comes with better service and security so most spellcasters would use it;
- the food thing works perfectly if you start with something similar. Turning wood to grain, beans, and fruits will do the trick. Or turning the worst/inedible parts of animals to tenerloin.


Cows into Goldfish.

Have a frat event at the local tavern to swallow goldfish. In older editions, death = return to original form. Not seeing that caveat in the Pathfinder version, so...Dispel Magic(s) it is.

Older editions polymorphing was way more fun (see Set's entry above). I was a fan of "Beholders in Bars" approach to creating some chaos.


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Oh! I forgot about an old idea I had. I liked the idea of a Kasatha gunslinger using 4 pistols. Unfortunately, pistols are one handed weapons and not light so the penalty would be -6 to wield all of them. So how to overcome that?

You could use small sized pistols which would then be "light" weapons...but the size penalty would result in the same -6 penalty.

So you need a way to overcome the size penalty. A goblin gunslinger has the ability to use a medium sized firearm with no size penalty. It very specifically says medium sized. Angazhani are 4 armed, gorilla like large sized magical beasts that can talk. Why aren't they monsterous humanoids? No idea. They should be. But close enough. PAO your goblin into a High Girallon and now you have 4 arms, large size, and you can wield medium pistols as light weapons with no size penalty. Sure its a long way to go for a gimmick but its fun.

At least till PAO gets dispelled.


Set wrote:
With Pathfinder, I'm not sure how polymorph any object relates to the transformed creatures lifespan, or ability to reproduce, and don't imagine it has any effect at all on their mental state, so turning captured orcs into elves wouldn't really be 'creating more CG nature-loving elves,' so much as making a bunch of evil, violent, short-lived orcs *look* like elves (but still be rotten neighbors, and probably pump out normal orc babies a generation later...).

Half-dragons (maybe some other half-X templates too) explicitly come from dragons under polymorph effects reproducing. Going by that it's safe to say a polymorphed creature produce spawn as their original form.

Dark Archive

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deuxhero wrote:
Set wrote:
With Pathfinder, I'm not sure how polymorph any object relates to the transformed creatures lifespan, or ability to reproduce, and don't imagine it has any effect at all on their mental state, so turning captured orcs into elves wouldn't really be 'creating more CG nature-loving elves,' so much as making a bunch of evil, violent, short-lived orcs *look* like elves (but still be rotten neighbors, and probably pump out normal orc babies a generation later...).
Half-dragons (maybe some other half-X templates too) explicitly come from dragons under polymorph effects reproducing. Going by that it's safe to say a polymorphed creature produce spawn as their original form.

Ooh, good catch!

And, wow, potential plot point, when that new human couple in town gives birth to a monster-child, because, it turns out, some wizard polymorphed a couple of monsters into humans and they decided to just live that new life that had been forced upon them, only to find out belatedly that the monster was still lurking in them, just waiting for the next generation to spring forth again...

The rest of the town is all aflutter about some dark curse that might cause people's kids to be spontaneously born as harpies or whatever, and the couple doesn't feel like it would be safe to mention that there is no curse on the village, "Uh, about that, it might be because *we* used to be harpies?"


Anyone else like my idea in the OP (turn some racist guy into the race he hates)? I think it would be especially good if the other race is similar enough for it to be permenant.

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