Polymorph 5e: Do You Know What It Is?

All About Polymorph 5e

Polymorph 5e is a spell, an enchantment, or maybe even a curse. In the way of the world of Dungeons and Dragons, polymorph is all of these things and more. It is also used to incapacitate foes by turning them into sheep. It is used to strengthen one’s defences by transforming into creatures with natural armour. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Polymorph is a transmutation spell that’s been around since the earliest days of D&D. It has undergone its fair share of changes and becoming one of those spells marked with an asterisk (*) because it’s so powerful.

Polymorph Spell

Polymorph is a 4th-level transmutation spell that allows you to turn an unwilling creature into another form of willing creature. It also automatically fails if the target is a construct or an undead. When you cast this spell using its 5th-level slot, it turns one willing creature per five caster levels into another willing creature type of your choice. (A 15th-level wizard casting polymorph for the 5th-level polymorphed effect would turn one creature per fifteen caster levels into another of his choice.)

You choose to transform yourself. The spell fails if you are not an animal, elemental, fey, ooze, plant, or undead. This spell also fails if you try to transform another creature into yourself. When the spell ends, all creatures affected revert to their normal forms and sizes.

Polymorph 5e (PHB p261) 1 round action: You or a willing ally of your choice; concentration, up to 10 minutes/ level (D)

Duration: 1 hour/level (D)

Polymorph 5e (PHB p261) 1d4+1 rounds: one willing creature; concentration, up to 1 minute/ level (D)

Range: 60 feet

The target’s size increases by one size category. The creature’s height increases to the maximum for this size, and its weight is multiplied by the limit of fifteen. This growth causes considerable strain on your target. Until the spell ends, the target also has a disadvantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.

Range: 30 feet

The target’s size decreases by one size category. Its height decreases to the minimum for this size, and its weight is multiplied by the limit of five. Until the spell ends, the target also has a disadvantage on Dexterity checks, Dexterity saving throws, and attack rolls with ranged weapons due to its decreased accuracy.

Mass Polymorph (5e)

This is a complete revamp of the polymorph spell in 5e.

There are two main changes to this iteration of polymorph: Any form available in the Monster Manual with CR 2 or less can be taken, and forms have their own set of rules that govern them. These rules are more complex than the original polymorph spell to give more flavour to each creature’s new form.

Here is an example of how the spells work now:

  • The player A casts polymorph (or decides to cast it on an ally) and decides to take the form of a Young Blue Dragon.
  • Player B casts a counterspell, preventing the spell from succeeding.
  • Player A then decides to cast polymorph at player B using the Spell Sniper feat. The spell succeeds because player B does not have resistance or immunity against it.
  • The player A takes the form of Young Blue Dragon. The DM decides that Young Blue Dragons are not playable in their campaign, so they create a series of rules for how this creature acts and its abilities.

Read More: What is Stoneskin 5e? Different aspects of stoneskin 5e

This is where it gets fun:

The DM tells player A that they can now breath lightning, has a fly speed if 50ft., has blind sense, weaknesses to cold damage, get the Frightful Presence ability at 6HD, deals an extra 1d6 of damage when attacking with its claws.

The DM decides that Young Blue Dragons are High-CR creatures (5-10 HD) and a Paragon Young Blue Dragon (30 HD).

Best Things to Polymorph Into (D&D 5E)

With that in mind, here are some things that can be turned into that can help you and your party get back to just cutting stuff up.

A bag of holding

Well, this is a brainer. Who doesn’t want to turn their Bag of Holding into a Giant’s Bag? Think about it, now instead of bringing a half dozen rope arrows with you on a mission. All you need to do is carry some Giant’s Toes around. 5E doesn’t have ways of making the amount of stuff you can carry your character’s problem, but this at least allows for one more bag of holding before you hit your encumbrance limit.

A Kraken

Becoming a 20-foot long sea monster is the dream if only so you can crush your enemies with ease. You can use your new size to topple buildings or allow players to reach areas that would normally be unreachable. 

A Beholder

This one is probably my favourite on the list because it opens up another world of possibilities for adventures. Polymorph spells are useful, but think about how much more creative you could get by having access to their abilities like eye rays and floating around. Not only that but now there’s an excuse to use that Monster Manual II beholder miniature you found years ago in your dad’s basement (that he promised was “worthless”).

A Water Elemental

Swimming at your normal speed is good. Walking on water is great, but casting spells out of the water makes you a god! While nothing takes away from the majesty of becoming an air elemental, it can’t compare with being able to become a Water Elemental without worrying about drowning anytime soon.

An Elder Brain

This comes with glowing eyes and tentacles everywhere, so that’s got to count for something, right? Plus, think how useful it could be at times! Imagine you stumble upon some zombies or another baddie that is magic resistant. Just turn into an Elder’s brain and start taking over their bodies and manipulating them like puppets (hope they don’t have to dispel magic).

The Tarrasque

Becoming a giant space dragon with a bunch of natural armour and laser beam eyes is probably the most powerful thing you could turn into in 5E, well, at least until I find out what the Tarrasque’s true identity is. Plus, it’s freaking huge, not as big as a Kraken but still pretty darn impressive.

A Gray Ooze

I don’t know why this one stuck out to me as much as it did. Perhaps it was because I thought I kept seeing them everywhere when I started playing D&D way back, or maybe it was just because ooze-type creatures are uniquely disgusting (okay, so they’re a little bit adorable too). Whatever the reason is, becoming one would be awesome. Imagine how much fun it would be to turn into a black pudding.

A Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion

This is one of those things that could either be insanely helpful or just plain hilarious, but still, I think it counts as something pretty cool. Imagine if your party was out exploring an island, and you came across some sandpits that threatened to swallow anyone. Just turn into this convenient floating fortress instead, and you’ve got yourself an instant base of operations.

An Iron Golem

Something about this makes me want to start playing Dungeons & Dragons again (perhaps it’s nostalgia for my first edition days). I like Iron Golems though, they look bad-ass and can turn an enemy’s weapons against them. They’re entertaining to fight, especially if you’ve got access to magic items.

What impact does polymorph has on players?

The polymorph spell is a tricky card for newer players because it can seem very counter-intuitive. To better understand the way the spell works, lets first look at the wording of this specific card:

  • Polymorph {X}{G} <– type a space here, and a dash – after every line break.
  • Choose a non-legendary creature on the battlefield.
  • Destroy target creature with the chosen name and put X 1/1 <– type a space here, and an italicized period here.
  • Transforming something into another thing is just like turning it into nothing instead.
  • (This effect doesn’t end at the end of turn) <– A line break here.
  • The non-legendary clause on the card is very important to understand how the spell works.


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