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D&D 3E
Some pretty hefty changes to the polymorph family. 
17th-Feb-2006 05:33 am (UTC)
Silly people and abusing spells.
17th-Feb-2006 06:50 am (UTC)
for people behind firewalls, what is the jist of the article?
17th-Feb-2006 08:05 am (UTC)
The range and ability to abuse Polymorph was far too great since the purpose of the spell was to be open-ended and nonspecific. Or, to use their exact words, "It's too darn good."
17th-Feb-2006 01:49 pm (UTC)
That they've made the biggest errata since releasing D+D (other than changing versions). It affects many supplements etc, many of the polymorph spell type things eg wild shape, baleful polymorph etc now work differently. The article links to the errata section too, but you can get there other ways too, so you might still be able to see the changes.
17th-Feb-2006 09:14 am (UTC)
Very recently there was something of a debate in my campaign about polymorph and the Arcane Strike feat. Apparently, polymorphing into a dragon, then activating Arcane Strike and doing a full attack was a bit much. To say the least.

Never mind when people don't understand the spell. Having to say "No, you're an elf! You can't polymorph into a ghaele! And even if you could, it sure as heck wouldn't make you immune to petrification!" to someone who has played their wizard for 1+ years on a weekly basis is beyond me.
17th-Feb-2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
here is a good house rule to use...

you can only polymorph into something you have actually seen and studied. this will cause characters to keep track of their killings and encounters and not be able to turn into anything the player knows but the character doesen't.

17th-Feb-2006 01:44 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much been my ruling too, unless they have a fairly high relevant skill, then they could make a roll for it.
17th-Feb-2006 02:04 pm (UTC)
An excellent house rule, but unplayable in a tournament module or Living Whatever setting.
17th-Feb-2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
true, true...

17th-Feb-2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
That doesn't necessarily help. Because it's fairly reasonable that characters might be familiar with creatures that they haven't come across in game. Like for a druid's wild shape: could you honestly say to a character that they don't know what a wolf is just because you never threw a pack of wolves at the characters? And then how do you decide what a character has seen and studied before the game (which is even more significant if you start a character at higher than 1st level)? And what designates study? Could a player just go to a library and read up about a bunch of creatures in the world? Or a zoo? Or could you combine this with scrying effects in order to look at every creature in existance?

And even if you do limit to creatures the players have encountered, you still have to work around creatures that you throw at the group but are too powerful for polymorph. Or for example, I tend to make up creatures at random, assigning a few abilities but leave open that they may have others (in case I need them). So now I have to write out an entry (balanced no less) for every creature I throw at the group, instead of just being able to create an encounter.

I like that the errata unlinked polymorphs from various other effects. It makes them simpler and make more sense. I think the real fix (as someone suggested somewhere) to polymorph is to make it like permanancy, where there is a defined list of creatures that work with polymorph, because they aren't broken with polymorph. And then for new creatures in new supplements you can add the line "This form is available via polymorph" or some such. That way there is a limit on the power of the spell, and you can still house-rule familiarity stuff to keep it from not making sense.
17th-Feb-2006 07:36 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you said, and I propose instead of the "can only polymorph into something you've seen" with this:

You can polymorph into any creature you've seen, and you can polymorph into any creature from the core Monster Manual for which you have the appropriate Knowledge skill (5 + skill bonus = max HD of creatures known). You can also ask the DM if you might have seen creatures whose native terrain type is the same as that in which you grew up.

Alternate Form doesn't have this restriction, but it often has far more restriction on what you can change into. Druid wild shape is most similar to Alternate Form now, rather than polymorph, so they would retain the ability to become any animal they know of (I'd still restrict it to Monster Manual + creatures seen, though).
19th-Feb-2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
Am I missing the errata here?

I see baleful polymorph and wild shape changes.
19th-Feb-2006 05:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, I guess it's only polymorph-esque things?
6th-Jul-2008 07:24 pm (UTC) - polymorph spell
you should only allow common monsters from the monster manuals.
unless the spell caster has seen one him self.

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