D&D 5e – Polymorph Spell – Is it Overpowered?

So during my lunch break yesterday, I was reading posts on some of the message boards, and I saw an interesting topic. The topic of the Polymorph spell came up being overpowered and was being restricted from use by some DMs. A spell being restricted from a campaign? Sounds weird… So what character class uses polymorph? Polymorph is a 4th level transmutation spell that is usable by wizards, druids, and bards when they reach level 7. For Wizards it also usable for free without expending a spell slot when a Wizard of reaches level 10 of the School of Transmutation.  Seems reasonable for a Wizard in the school of transmutation to have that power. But let’s look at the spell’s description:

Polymorph Spell

Polymorph
4th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components:V,S,M (a caterpillar cocoon)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
– This spell transforms a creature that you can see within range into a new form. An unwilling creature must make a Wisdom saving throw to avoid the effect. A shapechanger automatically succeeds on this saving throw.
– The transformation lasts for the duration, or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies. The new form can be any beast whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target’s (or target’s level, if it doesn’t have a challenge rating). The target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the chosen beast. It retains its alignment and personality.
– The target assumes the hit points of its new form. When it reverts to its normal form, the creature returns to the number of hit points it had before it transformed. If it reverts as a result of dropping to 0 hit points, any excess damage carries over to its normal form. As long as the excess damage doesn’t reduce the creature’s normal form to 0 hit points, it isn’t knocked unconscious.
– The creature is limited in actions it can perform by the nature of its new form, and it can’t speak, cast spells, or take any other action that requires hands, or speech.
– The target’s gear melds into the new form. The creature can’t activate, use wield or otherwise benefit from any of its equipment.

Doesn’t look that powerful for a 7th level character.  So at level 7 you can transform anything into a beast form.  Even a bad guy, but I would look for enemies with low wisdom. and decommission them for an hour. But only up to the creature’s CR or level.  So what creatures are beast?  Below are all the beasts, but I’m only really interested in the last one, the Tyrannosaurus Rex!  Change yourself or your ally into The Tyrannosaurus Rex!!! Holy Cow! I wanna be a T-Rex!!!! But have to wait till level 8, or have an ally at level 8+. I can’t WAIT!

The BEAST!

Tyrannosaurus Rex
Huge beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 136 (13d12 + 52)
Speed 50 ft.
STR 25 (+7)DEX 10 (+0) CON19 (+4) INT2 (−4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 9 (−1)
Skills Perception +4
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages —
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Multiattack. The tyrannosaurus makes two attacks: one with
its bite and one with its tail. It can’t make both attacks against
the same target.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.
Hit: 33 (4d12 + 7) piercing damage. If the target is a Medium
or smaller creature, it is grappled (escape DC 17). Until this
grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the tyrannosaurus
can’t bite another target.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.
Hit: 20 (3d8 + 7) bludgeoning damage.

Sounds awesome, but how does that concentration work if you polymorph into a T-Rex and stomp around biting stuff, but have to maintain concentration, and can’t cast anymore spells. So to maintain concentration, with the Trex’s high Constitution, you get a +4 against a DC 10 or half of the damage you take.  So let’s say, if you’re fighting another wizard that changed into a TRex and he bites you.  That DC could easily be 16 (or even 27 at max damage) from the Trex bite damage which means you lose concentration and revert back to normal form.  Doesn’t sound OP so far, because concentration could be lost.

But what if Bless and Stoneskin are cast on the T-Rex to maintain the form?  Then a 1d4+4 is added to the d20 roll, and the other TRex is biting but only causes half damage, so then the DC drops to the low setting of 10.  Not hard to overcome with a d20+d4+4.  But throw in a giant with a +1 weapon, causing major damage and the stone skin doesn’t help like that anymore.  DC shoots up, way above the low setting, and chances increase on losing concentration.

And if its a Wizard, he becomes basically a huge melee fighter in the front, and doing 53 points of damage on hits with a +10 to hit. Not bad, but this also has the added risk of being in the front line if he loses concentration, and then all that damage gets transferred to his frail little body.  Hmmmm… So far I’m not seeing it becoming OP.  But maybe I’m overlooking something.  You can’t benefit from any of your equipment, still can’t use feats, abilities, or features.  Might be good,  but once you get up in levels, I don’t think this spell will be as useful as other powers that a character may have.

Thanks for reading, and please share. Have fun!

-Michael

twitter: @mrlong78
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Giant List of all the Beasts

Name Size CR Source
Baboon Small 0 Monster Manual p.318
Badger Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.318
Bat Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.318
Cat Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.320
Crab Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.320
Deer Medium 0 Monster Manual p.321
Eagle Small 0 Monster Manual p.322
Frog Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.322
Giant Fire Beetle Small 0 Monster Manual p.325
Goat Medium 0 Monster Manual p.330
Hawk Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.330
Hyena Medium 0 Monster Manual p.331
Jackal Small 0 Monster Manual p.331
Lizard Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.332
Octopus Small 0 Monster Manual p.333
Owl Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.333
Quipper Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.335
Rat Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.335
Raven Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.335
Scorpion Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.337
Sea Horse Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.337
Spider Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.337
Vulture Medium 0 Monster Manual p.339
Weasel Tiny 0 Monster Manual p.340
Blood Hawk Small 1/8 Monster Manual p.319
Camel Large 1/8 Monster Manual p.320
Flying Snake Tiny 1/8 Monster Manual p.322
Giant Crab Medium 1/8 Monster Manual p.324
Giant Rat Small 1/8 Monster Manual p.327
Giant Weasel Medium 1/8 Monster Manual p.329
Mastiff Medium 1/8 Monster Manual p.332
Mule Medium 1/8 Monster Manual p.333
Poisonous Snake Tiny 1/8 Monster Manual p.334
Pony Medium 1/8 Monster Manual p.335
Stirge Tiny 1/8 Monster Manual p.284
Axe Beak Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.317
Boar Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.319
Constrictor Snake Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.320
Draft Horse Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.321
Elk Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.322
Giant Badger Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.323
Giant Bat Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.323
Giant Centipede Small 1/4 Monster Manual p.323
Giant Frog Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.325
Giant Lizard Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.326
Giant Owl Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.327
Giant Poisonous Snake Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.327
Giant Wolf Spider Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.330
Panther Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.333
Pteranodon Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.80
Riding Horse Large 1/4 Monster Manual p.336
Wolf Medium 1/4 Monster Manual p.341
Ape Medium 1/2 Monster Manual p.317
Black Bear Medium 1/2 Monster Manual p.318
Crocodile Large 1/2 Monster Manual p.320
Giant Goat Large 1/2 Monster Manual p.326
Giant Sea Horse Large 1/2 Monster Manual p.328
Giant Wasp Medium 1/2 Monster Manual p.329
Reef Shark Medium 1/2 Monster Manual p.336
Warhorse Large 1/2 Monster Manual p.340
Brown Bear Large 1 Monster Manual p.319
Dire Wolf Large 1 Monster Manual p.321
Giant Eagle Large 1 Monster Manual p.324
Giant Hyena Large 1 Monster Manual p.326
Giant Octopus Large 1 Monster Manual p.326
Giant Spider Large 1 Monster Manual p.328
Giant Toad Large 1 Monster Manual p.329
Giant Vulture Large 1 Monster Manual p.329
Lion Large 1 Monster Manual p.331
Tiger Large 1 Monster Manual p.339
Allosaurus Large 2 Monster Manual p.79
Giant Boar Large 2 Monster Manual p.323
Giant Constrictor Snake Huge 2 Monster Manual p.324
Giant Elk Huge 2 Monster Manual p.325
Hunter Shark Large 2 Monster Manual p.330
Plesiosaurus Large 2 Monster Manual p.80
Polar Bear Large 2 Monster Manual p.334
Rhinoceros Large 2 Monster Manual p.336
Saber-Toothed Tiger Large 2 Monster Manual p.336
Ankylosaurus Huge 3 Monster Manual p.79
Giant Scorpion Large 3 Monster Manual p.327
Killer Whale Huge 3 Monster Manual p.331
Elephant Huge 4 Monster Manual p.322
Giant Crocodile Huge 5 Monster Manual p.324
Giant Shark Huge 5 Monster Manual p.328
Triceratops Huge 5 Monster Manual p.80
Mammoth Huge 6 Monster Manual p.332
Giant Ape Huge 7 Monster Manual p.323
Tyrannosaurus Rex Huge 8 Monster Manual p.80

twitter: @mrlong78
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michael

You can follow me on Twitter! @mrlong78