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D&D 5eThoughts & Things

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

NameSizeCRSource
BaboonSmall0Monster Manual p.318
BadgerTiny0Monster Manual p.318
BatTiny0Monster Manual p.318
CatTiny0Monster Manual p.320
CrabTiny0Monster Manual p.320
DeerMedium0Monster Manual p.321
EagleSmall0Monster Manual p.322
FrogTiny0Monster Manual p.322
Giant Fire BeetleSmall0Monster Manual p.325
GoatMedium0Monster Manual p.330
HawkTiny0Monster Manual p.330
HyenaMedium0Monster Manual p.331
JackalSmall0Monster Manual p.331
LizardTiny0Monster Manual p.332
OctopusSmall0Monster Manual p.333
OwlTiny0Monster Manual p.333
QuipperTiny0Monster Manual p.335
RatTiny0Monster Manual p.335
RavenTiny0Monster Manual p.335
ScorpionTiny0Monster Manual p.337
Sea HorseTiny0Monster Manual p.337
SpiderTiny0Monster Manual p.337
VultureMedium0Monster Manual p.339
WeaselTiny0Monster Manual p.340
Blood HawkSmall1/8Monster Manual p.319
CamelLarge1/8Monster Manual p.320
Flying SnakeTiny1/8Monster Manual p.322
Giant CrabMedium1/8Monster Manual p.324
Giant RatSmall1/8Monster Manual p.327
Giant WeaselMedium1/8Monster Manual p.329
MastiffMedium1/8Monster Manual p.332
MuleMedium1/8Monster Manual p.333
Poisonous SnakeTiny1/8Monster Manual p.334
PonyMedium1/8Monster Manual p.335
StirgeTiny1/8Monster Manual p.284
Axe BeakLarge1/4Monster Manual p.317
BoarMedium1/4Monster Manual p.319
Constrictor SnakeLarge1/4Monster Manual p.320
Draft HorseLarge1/4Monster Manual p.321
ElkLarge1/4Monster Manual p.322
Giant BadgerMedium1/4Monster Manual p.323
Giant BatLarge1/4Monster Manual p.323
Giant CentipedeSmall1/4Monster Manual p.323
Giant FrogMedium1/4Monster Manual p.325
Giant LizardLarge1/4Monster Manual p.326
Giant OwlLarge1/4Monster Manual p.327
Giant Poisonous SnakeMedium1/4Monster Manual p.327
Giant Wolf SpiderMedium1/4Monster Manual p.330
PantherMedium1/4Monster Manual p.333
PteranodonMedium1/4Monster Manual p.80
Riding HorseLarge1/4Monster Manual p.336
WolfMedium1/4Monster Manual p.341
ApeMedium1/2Monster Manual p.317
Black BearMedium1/2Monster Manual p.318
CrocodileLarge1/2Monster Manual p.320
Giant GoatLarge1/2Monster Manual p.326
Giant Sea HorseLarge1/2Monster Manual p.328
Giant WaspMedium1/2Monster Manual p.329
Reef SharkMedium1/2Monster Manual p.336
WarhorseLarge1/2Monster Manual p.340
Brown BearLarge1Monster Manual p.319
Dire WolfLarge1Monster Manual p.321
Giant EagleLarge1Monster Manual p.324
Giant HyenaLarge1Monster Manual p.326
Giant OctopusLarge1Monster Manual p.326
Giant SpiderLarge1Monster Manual p.328
Giant ToadLarge1Monster Manual p.329
Giant VultureLarge1Monster Manual p.329
LionLarge1Monster Manual p.331
TigerLarge1Monster Manual p.339
AllosaurusLarge2Monster Manual p.79
Giant BoarLarge2Monster Manual p.323
Giant Constrictor SnakeHuge2Monster Manual p.324
Giant ElkHuge2Monster Manual p.325
Hunter SharkLarge2Monster Manual p.330
PlesiosaurusLarge2Monster Manual p.80
Polar BearLarge2Monster Manual p.334
RhinocerosLarge2Monster Manual p.336
Saber-Toothed TigerLarge2Monster Manual p.336
AnkylosaurusHuge3Monster Manual p.79
Giant ScorpionLarge3Monster Manual p.327
Killer WhaleHuge3Monster Manual p.331
ElephantHuge4Monster Manual p.322
Giant CrocodileHuge5Monster Manual p.324
Giant SharkHuge5Monster Manual p.328
TriceratopsHuge5Monster Manual p.80
MammothHuge6Monster Manual p.332
Giant ApeHuge7Monster Manual p.323
Tyrannosaurus RexHuge8Monster Manual p.80

twitter: @mrlong78
facebook DnD5e group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DnD5th/
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