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Thread: Shape Changing & Magic Items

  1. #1
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Shape Changing & Magic Items

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    When a character changes its shape or size, as a DM how do you handle the items that they wear and carry?

    Enlarge and Polymorph Spells: are pretty clear; that as long as the size change is within one category, the items change size as well.

    Lycanthrope/Hybrid Form: is a bit different. The MM states that all non-magic clothing is torn to shreds, but magic armor (etc) get a DC=15 save vs Fort to survive. As a DM and player, we had always treated this as an Enlarge or Polymorph spell.

    Lycanthrope/Animal Form: is very different. The character changes shape (and size), and can not use its armor, weapons or magic items.

    Shape Change Spell: is another completely different case. In my past experience all possessions had been absorbed into the new form, and were unusable as weapons, armor or magic items.

    Does anyone use a different interpretation of the rules?

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    polymorph- sorry wiz.. everything must be taken off

    shapechange- items requiring activation to not work, but persistant effects still hold (an amulet of life protection say)

  3. #3
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealmsDM View Post
    polymorph- sorry wiz.. everything must be taken off
    Polymorph: (PHB, p-263) This spell functions like Alter Self...

    Alter Self: (PHB, p-197) When the change occurs, your equipment, if any, either remains worn or held by the new form...

    As a DM, I'm not going to make my players jump through administrative hoops... they're challenged enough by the scenarios that I present.

    In looking at any rule interpretation, the first question is how does it add to the feel of the game from the perspective of the playes, and the second is how does it effect the flow of the game.
    Last edited by Ed Zachary; 03-05-2007 at 09:16 PM.

  4. #4
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dd/20060216a

    It shouldn’t come as news to any serious D&D player that the polymorph spell presents some problems for players and DMs alike. From ever-changing stat blocks to “what happens to my stuff,” nothing grinds the game to a halt like somebody casting polymorph. In fact, if there’s a family of spells that has created more rules arguments, errata, and FAQ entries than the polymorph tribe (which includes alter self, animal shapes, baleful polymorph, polymorph any object, and shapechange, along with the metamorphosis and greater metamorphosis psionic powers), we’d be surprised.

    Over the past 5-1/2 years, D&D has seen three distinct versions of the polymorph spell: the version presented in the 3rd Edition Player’s Handbook was superseded by a new take in Tome and Blood, which in turn was updated in the Player’s Handbook version 3.5. Each successive take on polymorph attempted to address the rules complications that arose from the spell, but they never really attacked the biggest problem with polymorph. It’s too darn good.

    ... more

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    Well, nothing beats a House Rule.

    I was seeing the "Barbie: Swan Lake" movie with my 2 year old daughter, when Barbie turns into a swan, she transforms along with her normal cloths, although the magic item (Crown with a Fearie Jewel) remains in her head (of course it magically adjusts to fit the new size), that for me works well for a polymorph spell.

    For Lycanthorpe, I agree all Non-Magical stuff should be torn (If applicable),
    but rings, amulets, and such could remain (somehow its fair for the party to be able to recognize their sick friend).

    I don't really know the current status of the spells, my PH is 3.0, but the DM
    should adjust as he see fit, the simpler the best I suppose.

    Movie or books make good reference for House Rules.
    Saluti
    Carlos

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    I guess a "Barbie" reference was too much for a this Thread.

    Just to re-activate the Thread:

    Once I played a "Werewolf Ranger/Sorcerer", I was a "Guest" in a friend's campaign (I was visiting him in my home town) who betrayed the party (part of the plot) and fought them (I downed 3 before being killed).

    I casted spells while in Man-wolf form, does anyone have a ruling of this not being possible (partly impaired speech)?

    .
    Saluti
    Carlos

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    Also to raise this thread from the dead ...

    I don't know about the D&D official ruling, but I'd probably go by the Werewolf: The Forsaken rule: if it's not specifically enchanted to become "part of your body" when you change form, then it drops (or rips, or strangles you if I feel particularly nasty). This would go for normal clothes, never mind magical items. If you don't specifically bundle it up and take it with you, you've lost it.

    Exceptions would include an item that allows you to change shape in the first place (e.g. a wolf skin or cloak of swan feathers), items that change shape to fit each user (e.g. the Barbie crown), items with a specific enchantment to "sublimate" when the user changes shape (e.g. enchanted werewolf pants), or an item which was part of your body in the first place (e.g. the Hand of Vecna, a psi-crystal implanted in your skull, and so forth).

    Then again, I'm a big proponent of low-magic campaigns.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    Does anyone use a different interpretation of the rules?
    Nope. Just the way you describe them there. I never saw any reason to change it.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  9. #9
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    When a character changes its shape or size, as a DM how do you handle the items that they wear and carry?

    Enlarge and Polymorph Spells: are pretty clear; that as long as the size change is within one category, the items change size as well.

    Lycanthrope/Hybrid Form: is a bit different. The MM states that all non-magic clothing is torn to shreds, but magic armor (etc) get a DC=15 save vs Fort to survive. As a DM and player, we had always treated this as an Enlarge or Polymorph spell.

    Lycanthrope/Animal Form: is very different. The character changes shape (and size), and can not use its armor, weapons or magic items.

    Shape Change Spell: is another completely different case. In my past experience all possessions had been absorbed into the new form, and were unusable as weapons, armor or magic items.

    Does anyone use a different interpretation of the rules?
    Not really. You pretty much convered it. That's not to say i didnt have players try to argue their point.

    Thoth-Amon

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    Whatever you do to the PCs, just remember they'll do it back.

    If clothing rips and falls off, armor strangles you, and swords get dropped, that's going to make an awfully good tactic against that plate-armored anti-Paladin you're going to throw at them later...

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    the faq and erratta has an extensive coverage of the new polymorph rules, plus 8 articles on the d&d website. from memory what i recall is:

    polymorph: if you change into a form which can legally use the items, then you can "keep them on". some dm's might allow you to make a case for a bird still wearing a ring or somesuch. if your new form exceeds the size limit of the items somehow, the bursting rules for enlarge apply. otherwise it falls off harmlessly at your feet. (assuming you have them.) i think that there is an absorbtion option....

    wildshape: nothing is retained in usable form. all is absorbed. the only exceptions are things with either a wildshape clasp or the wildshaping enhancement.

    alter self: generally you can use whatever you are wearing unless you gain or lose limbs, as the limits of the effect are pretty severe. lycantropy is an alter self effect. generally speaking, changing to a non-humanoid form will negate your ability to wear the item designed for humanoids.

    i thought that the ideas mentioned earlier were just fine. just make ones own set of rules, or better rules. ^^
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
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