Ultimate Polymorph 5e D&D Guide

One of the most well-known spells in all of Dungeons & Dragons is Polymorph.

Polymorphing monsters, players, and NPCs are a common occurrence in role-playing games.

A detailed Polymorph 5e DnD guide explaining what it is and how to utilize it in imaginative settings is long overdue.

Polymorph is the quirky spell that frequently throws a monkey wrench in the plans of your Dungeon Master.

It’s also a powerful tool for those who want to think beyond the box.

Polymorphism is nearly a guarantee if you follow the path of the magical arts.

What Exactly is Polymorph in 5e Dungeons and Dragons?

Page 266 of our Player’s Guide can be found here.

In other words, this is a transmutation level 4 spell with a single action casting time.

This gun has a 60-foot blast radius.

A Caterpillar cocoon is required for this spell.

This is an essential component.

In the end, it’s a concentration phase that lasts an hour.

Any time you cast another spell after casting a concentration spell, the previous one expires.

When you use a polymorph spell, you don’t have to reset the spell after casting it.

So there’s nothing to worry about.

To use polymorph, you need to be within visual range of a creature that you wish to change into something else.

To avoid being converted, the creature must succeed in a WIS save.

Some creatures can resist this.

A shape-changer is likewise resistant to the polymorph spell because it has no remaining health points.

It takes on its new shape for the duration of the spell, or until its health points are depleted to 0, whichever comes first, or if the monster is killed.

There is a limit to how much control you have over the monster the target will polymorph into.

There has to be a challenge rating that is equal to or less than the target creature.

Your target will return to its original alignment and personality.

When you select a beast, though, its stats take precedence over your own.

If you haven’t brought the monster to zero or killed it, it will regain all of its hit points when it returns to its original shape.

Because of the new creature’s nature, the target you’ve chosen is unable to change.

In other words, it has the same amount of attacking and defensive power and performs the same way in battle.

As a result, the altered creature is unable to speak, cast spells, or do any other activity that involves the use of hands or words.

If it possessed a magic item in its inventory, it is no longer able to use it.

How does polymorph work?

Before you read this guide, go to the 5e SRD and look up the Polymorph spell. You might also want to read about the Shapechange and True Polymorph spells, but remember that Polymorph is more important because it has fewer uses.

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Once you understand Polymorph, you should be able to use what you know about it to learn other spells.

The most important thing that polymorph can’t do is change the target’s mind. While polymorphed, the chosen beast’s game statistics replace the target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores.

It stays in place and stays true to itself.” This means that when your wizard polymorphs into a tyrannosaurus, their Intelligence drops from 20 to 2. But what about who they are as people?

The short answer is that I don’t know, but I can suggest some things. Jeremy Crawford said you are still the same person. I think that means that friends and foes are still friends and foes.

Unless that target is also under another effect, like Comprehend Languages, it almost certainly can’t speak or understand speech. Unless the target was already intelligent like an animal (like a familiar or a pet dog), it will act differently. Don’t think that the target can do math or decide how to act.

Animal Handling may be needed by allies to guide the target (they are a best now, after all). If not, the target is likely to fight the nearest enemy.

Outside of battle, the target is probably friendly to their allies, but they are probably motivated by animal things. You know, stuff about animals. Being hungry and… I don’t know, animal stuff?

Of course, many groups will just let the person who became a T-Rex do what they want. It’s much easier to do.

What Are Some Good Picks to Polymorph Into? 

Fortunately for those who want to get creative, the rules indicate that you can choose the shape of any beast you like.

However, you must keep in mind the challenge rating limitation and the level restriction if there is no challenge rating.

It is important to make clear the distinction between a beast and a creature.

Vampires and ghouls, for example, are not beasts.

They’re not included in that category.

The Giant Ape or the Giant Bat are examples of beasts.

So if you were hoping to turn something into a dragon, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.

The spell can still be put to a variety of good use.

In the case of espionage or submersion, polymorph comes in handy.

As a player, I’ve used this spell a lot, but as a DM, I’ve used it even more.

Let me tell you, this one is a blast to play.

To be clear, polymorph is not an exception to the rule that in DnD you can choose yourself as a target for spells.

Here are my top five polymorphing monsters:

5. Tyrannosaurus Rex

The Rex ranks fifth, which is a little surprising.

Many gamers, myself included, have this as their top two or number one pick.

The T-Rex has a devastating multi-attack that will inflict a lot of opponents with considerable harm, massive damage, and devastating multi-attack

The T-rex has only two levels of intelligence, which is a major drawback.

I’ve also found that many DMs prohibit the beast since it disrupts the atmosphere and seems out of place.

4. Giant Shark

Ultimate Polymorph 5e

The Giant Shark is an excellent choice if you’re in a fight near water.

I like that it has some respectable stats and provides a different type of challenge than some of the other monsters.

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126 Hit Points, the ability to breathe underwater, and speed in the water make it an excellent choice for a tank.

It gains additional power from the blood frenzy ability.

That a giant shark polymorph metamorphosis is so hard to come by means of is a major issue.

Unless you’re in the water, you don’t have a good chance of succeeding.

3. Giant Elk

It’s a blast to play with a Giant Elk.

Despite its size, it has got a good amount of power.

Overland travel is made a lot simpler as a result of this.

You can even bring along your friends.

INT is 7 for this team.

For a beast, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Giant Elk can speak the common language, which is a great advantage.

An impressive 10 foot Ram Attack can be unleashed with it.

The Giant Elk is a terrific travel companion, but it lacks the fighting prowess to be of any service.

2. Giant Owl

For scouting, there’s nothing like the huge owl.

When employing Darkvision, it has an incredible range of vision.

Make sure you aren’t going to be attacked by them, as their fighting prowess isn’t great.

The low health and AC of the enormous owl form are going to cost you if you’re not going to be careful.

The huge owl has an INT of 8 and can speak the common language.

When scouting, having a high intellect score is critical since it helps you remember specifics.

It is possible to carry an ally on the Owl’s back, who can aid in scouting or provide protection while the Owl is in the air.

1. Giant Ape

This is undoubtedly a popular choice amongst other people.

You have a few options if you wish to take on the giant ape.

Even while its AC isn’t ideal, it has a big health pool to make up for it.

This is powerful because of two factors: for starters, it has a 10-foot multi-attack range.

Second, it has a powerful 50-foot-range rock-throwing attack that may inflict significant damage without requiring you to reach within range of it.

What are the worst forms of polymorphism?

Worst is a relative word. 

There will always be a niche purpose for a beast. 

It will be easier for a rat to navigate the sewers unnoticed than a T.Rex. 

A polymorph form with a lower use rate is considered to be less dangerous. 

These are the ones I have seen the most.


If you are looking for a disabled animal, it is better to pick a rat. 

The frog is not useful because there are better scouting forms.


There is no reason to choose the vulture over a giant owl. 

It is possible, but it is unlikely if you live in an area where owls are scarce.


The baboon can’t be used for anything that I can think of. 

It is too mobile to be used as a disabled version.

Polymorph – One of the most hated spells by Dungeon Masters.

If you are capable, Polymorph is a spell that every caster should have in their arsenal. 

It’s fun, it can throw a wrench in the plans of your Dungeon Master, and it provides a welcome change of pace.

You will need to plan for players who use this spell if you are a DM. 

If you have monsters who can use the polymorph spell it’s a good idea to prepare your players and surprise them by making them into unusable monsters.

Some DMs place restrictions on the spell. 

They may nerf the spell a bit, but I most often see them ban the T-Rex. 

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It is usually done to enhance immersion.

A huge T-rex running about in a fantasy world inspired by Europe is just too weird for DnD!

Many questions are asked about the polymorph spell. 

To answer some of these questions, I created this FAQ list.

My Favorite Polymorph Tactics

Polymorph offers many amazing strategies and perks that you can use. 

If you’re creative, the spell is one of the most powerful in the entire Dungeons & Dragons universe.


This one is obvious, but you have a lot more options. 

This is known as a disable. 

You can make them into rats, which makes them much easier to manage.

Scouting and Infiltration

Are there any enemy camps ahead of you that you would like to inspect? 

You could transform into an owl to fly over it at night. 

Perhaps you can spot a tiny hole in the wall while playing rat. 

You can then inspect the area and figure out what you are dealing with. 

Remember that DMs have the same intelligence as beasts. 

A rat will not remember many details while an owl will.

Escape or Prepare

You can make your enemy a weak animal to give you time to take a deep breath and get ready for battle. 

If they are much stronger than you, you can make them a slow-moving animal like a frog.


What will happen if I transform into a large creature in a very small area?

It will probably be up to your Dungeon Master. This is something I’m unable to find any official rules for. Should you let a monster swallow you and turn you into a giant ape? The polymorph spell doesn’t work if you don’t have enough space to transform comfortably. This problem might be solved by another DM.

Can you make something new from an existing polymorph?

The following scenario is possible: A goblin wizard has transformed you into a Rat. While you’re still a rat, your ally transforms you into a Giant Owl. Is it possible?This has sparked a lot of discussion. My view is that the Giant Owl will replace the first polymorph with a rat. When your hit points fall to 0, the Giant Owl form will overwrite any polymorph spells that hit you. Another school of thought states that if you reduce your hit points to zero, or the concentration of the second caster, you should return to the rat form.This is not an official rule in 5e. It will be determined by your dungeon master.

What’s the difference between True Polymorph and Regular?

True polymorph is stronger and offers more variety than the regular version. It’s not surprising that True Polymorph, which is level 9, is higher than Polymorph.The spell can be concentrated for up to an hour and will last until it is dispelled. You can transform your target into any animal, not just beasts. A creature can be transformed into an object or a creature into another object. 

I have just been polymorphed. What abilities can I still use?

No, there aren’t any abilities that can be carried over. The spell doesn’t explain this clearly, but you will lose all your racial threats. You will only have the powers that the beast you’re switched into. Make sure you have the stat block from the monster book ready for polymorph so you know how strong you are.

What classes can use Polymorph in Dungeons and Dragons and what are their limitations?

Polymorph is an option for the following classes.