On Fri, 2 Feb 2018 11:14:15 -0800 (PST), tetsubo57
Post by tetsubo57
Greetings! I find myself pondering the Polymorph Any Object again.
What can I say, working at a factory is not overly engaging.
I am reminded of that sequence in the video game "What Became of Edith
Finch". For those who haven't played it, you take the role of a young
man stuck in a dead-end job in a cannery. It's not a very mentally
stimulating task so while on the job he imagines a whole fantastic
world. Unfortunately, the story ends badly then again, that's sort of
the whole point of all the vignettes of that game.
Post by tetsubo57
Now any of the standard mammalian races can be polymorphed into an
elf, the race with the greatest longevity. If that happens, how old is the
newly minted elf? Example: If the person was a 50 year old human would
they be a fifty year old elf and barely out of their teens? Or would they be
a middle-aged elf? The former might live another 900 years while the
latter only 450. Any thoughts?
Some other options:
a) They polymorph into an "average" elf (say, 300 years) regardless of
their age before the spell.
b) the physical age doesn't matter, they still keep their expected
lifespan (so even if the polymorphed human now have the body of a
50-year old elf, he still is unlikely to live past 60 or 80 years).
Of course, that still doesn't determine the physical capabilities of
the body. It's all well and good to negate the life-extending
advantages of the spell, but it still doesn't answer if a 50-year old
human gets the body of a barely-out-of-diapers 50 year old elf (eiuu)
or a middle-aged elf with 450 years under his belt. Do infirmities
follow a character through a polymorph? Hit points remain constant
throughout the change but the spell descriptions say little about
whether or not missing limbs or other ailments are restored. If not,
I'd allow the wizard to determine the age and - to some degree, the
capabilities - of the new form.
The Sage Advice columns in the old Dragon Magazine seemed to be of
mixed opinion. Admittedly these rulings were for 1st and 2nd Ed AD&D
but the spell descriptions in later editions haven't made the issue
any clearer so their advice is still sound, even if they flip-flopped
on the issue depending on whom was writing.
In Dragon #133 it says ".. an adult magic-user would become an adult
dragon...Aging in the AD&D game is sometimes a function of the mind,
not the body".
In Dragon #212 on the other hand they ruled that abilities like a
Quicklings speed could be argued to be a part of "its magically
accelerated metabolism, and is not derived purely from its physical
form" and thus that ability is not transferred to the polymorphed
character. If elven lifespans are a result of magical tinkering and
not superior genetics, then arguably the polymorph spell wouldn't add
Another Sage advice column suggests that, when a wizard polymorphs
someone into a dragon, determine the age of said dragon by having the
wizard specify the age and then work backwards. That is, if a wizard
transforms somebody into a 100' long Red Dragon, the dragon would be a
mature adult because mature adult red dragons are 99-118' in length.
This implies the Wizard has some decision in how old the target is.
Finally, a later Sage Advice response says, "there's nothing in the
spell that says the caster gets to pick the transformed creature's
age. That's for the DM to decide."
I think in the end, that's the best advice. Make a decision as a DM
and stick with it. It's magic after all, who is anyone to argue? Just
remain consistent with that ruling in the future.
(As for me, I'd rule that the wizard can determine the shape of the
body but the lifespan remains constant. Polymorph a 99-year old human
into a 1-year old elf, he's still going to die in a couple of years
regardless. On the other hand, if you polymorph him into a 20-year old
elf, at least he'll be able to enjoy those last few years ;-)