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So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:11 am
by Treebore
eternal youth?


Discuss.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:21 am
by BLOOD AXE
You would only appear to be young, but your bones would be brittle, you would still be old, lack energy, etc.
Kind of like plastic surgery! :lol:

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:27 am
by Treebore
BLOOD AXE wrote:You would only appear to be young, but your bones would be brittle, you would still be old, lack energy, etc.
Kind of like plastic surgery! :lol:

I don't know, Polymorph Other can turn you into a completely new creature, permanently. The spell says nothing about whether or not you can make the new "body young, old, or middle age. The only limitation I see put on the spell is that it spells out that if you permanently take on the new "form" that you lose ALL of your old memories and abilities.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:50 pm
by mmbutter
If you'll note the comment about the Polymorph Self and Polymorph Other spells being the same spell, the only difference is the target, you'll see that it requires someone else to cast Polymorph Other on you. You can't cast it on yourself.

But yeah, other than that...

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:48 pm
by Fiffergrund
I need to check the descriptions in the first printing - if PO and PS are the same effect now, then something has changed.

C&C 1P was = AD&D, I believe. PS was nerfed in favor of a higher level PO equivalent.

As I recall in AD&D, the Poly spells had an aging effect on the caster, though my memory may be a bit hazy on this.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:21 pm
by BLOOD AXE
Treebore wrote:
BLOOD AXE wrote:You would only appear to be young, but your bones would be brittle, you would still be old, lack energy, etc.
Kind of like plastic surgery! :lol:

I don't know, Polymorph Other can turn you into a completely new creature, permanently. The spell says nothing about whether or not you can make the new "body young, old, or middle age. The only limitation I see put on the spell is that it spells out that if you permanently take on the new "form" that you lose ALL of your old memories and abilities.
Just my take on it. :D

But does the spell say you can determine the age/health of the form? I'll have to check my books. (C&C & others)

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:25 pm
by Treebore
BLOOD AXE wrote:
Treebore wrote:
BLOOD AXE wrote:You would only appear to be young, but your bones would be brittle, you would still be old, lack energy, etc.
Kind of like plastic surgery! :lol:

I don't know, Polymorph Other can turn you into a completely new creature, permanently. The spell says nothing about whether or not you can make the new "body young, old, or middle age. The only limitation I see put on the spell is that it spells out that if you permanently take on the new "form" that you lose ALL of your old memories and abilities.
Just my take on it. :D

But does the spell say you can determine the age/health of the form? I'll have to check my books. (C&C & others)

No, it doesn't specifically say anything about age, it just goes into turning into a completely new creature. So if the caster turns you into a young version of any creature type, then thats it. Then there is the spell for really powerful casters, Shapechange. So what would stop a caster from developing a spell somewhere in between the two, for the primary purpose of being able to stay young, AND keep their memories? Aside from the CK simply saying "No."? Then also developing an "Other" version of it, to do the same for friends?

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:43 pm
by serleran
Does polymorph specify you can select the age of the form being assumed? If not, the assumption is the recipient remains their age, which, depending on form, could be a death sentence... especially if you turn someone into a fly.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:14 pm
by Treebore
serleran wrote:Does polymorph specify you can select the age of the form being assumed? If not, the assumption is the recipient remains their age, which, depending on form, could be a death sentence... especially if you turn someone into a fly.
Again, it says nothing specifically about age, but it does say you can turn them into an entirely new/different being. So why can't "new" also be young?
If you turn them into the largest Dragon possible, are you not "aging" them? If you turn them into the smallest Ogre possible, are you not making them younger? After all, they are becoming a completely new member of that species, if they stay Polymorphed for that long.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:42 pm
by serleran
Correct me if I am wrong, but you do not get to choose anything other than the form. There is no "largest of the type" option. You become "a" dragon of the selected type... likewise, you don't specify "small ogre" but "ogre."

You get to be a generic, average, version.

Now, don't get me wrong... I personally don't care if the spell works the way you say it does or not. I find it funny, especially with poly other as a forced reincarnate. But, I don't think the spell works as its being described.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:18 pm
by Treebore
serleran wrote:Correct me if I am wrong, but you do not get to choose anything other than the form. There is no "largest of the type" option. You become "a" dragon of the selected type... likewise, you don't specify "small ogre" but "ogre."

You get to be a generic, average, version.

Now, don't get me wrong... I personally don't care if the spell works the way you say it does or not. I find it funny, especially with poly other as a forced reincarnate. But, I don't think the spell works as its being described.
The spell does give a size range, and it does say the caster "retains control over both minor and significant physical qualities." So I would say size and age are both "significant" qualities.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:06 am
by DMSamuel
This is an interesting prospect... I think my setting will have old tales of wizardly hubris wherein a talented older mage tinkered too much trying to use polymorph as an immortality pill.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:48 am
by Sir Ironside
I just view it as a rearrangement of something that already exists. In this case it is living matter and living matter ages, so the older you get the older your living matter gets and is still subject to ageing affects no matter what form you take.

One could go in a much more complex relationship between the spell and the matter it affects, but I appreciate the simplicity of keeping ageing affects in line with the living matter.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:50 am
by Treebore
Sir Ironside wrote:I just view it as a rearrangement of something that already exists. In this case it is living matter and living matter ages, so the older you get the older your living matter gets and is still subject to ageing affects no matter what form you take.

One could go in a much more complex relationship between the spell and the matter it affects, but I appreciate the simplicity of keeping ageing affects in line with the living matter.

Thats a good way to look at it.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:09 pm
by Lord Dynel
Player's Handbook, 6th printing, page 129 wrote:Common sense must be applied when a polymorph spell comes into play.The above spell descriptions should adequately address most uses of the polymorph spells. In those other unique instances, the Castle Keeper should utilize the above as a guideline for issuing rulings on the spell’s effect to the players.
As CK, I rule that the spell does not grant eternal youth. ;)

Why? Because I would consider it a cheap workaround to old age. Because it would completely negate a magical potion (potion of longevity). Additionally, I know there are some items or effects (and I can't remember one off the top of my head, darn it! Maybe from other systems, but still addressed the subject nonetheless...) that states something along the lines of "the character still dies of old age normally." I would be okay allowing the permanent effect of the character looking young - permanently, if the spell dictates - but not reversing years.

Just my two cents. ;)

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:20 pm
by Treebore
Lord Dynel wrote:
Player's Handbook, 6th printing, page 129 wrote:Common sense must be applied when a polymorph spell comes into play.The above spell descriptions should adequately address most uses of the polymorph spells. In those other unique instances, the Castle Keeper should utilize the above as a guideline for issuing rulings on the spell’s effect to the players.
As CK, I rule that the spell does not grant eternal youth. ;)

Why? Because I would consider it a cheap workaround to old age. Because it would completely negate a magical potion (potion of longevity). Additionally, I know there are some items or effects (and I can't remember one off the top of my head, darn it! Maybe from other systems, but still addressed the subject nonetheless...) that states something along the lines of "the character still dies of old age normally." I would be okay allowing the permanent effect of the character looking young - permanently, if the spell dictates - but not reversing years.

Just my two cents. ;)

I haven't been saying that a CK shouldn't say it doesn't work that way. Plus, what is "common sense" when it comes to magic that can turn you, permanently, into a whole different species? I'm basically just doing a "What If?" scenario. As the spell is written, how would you handle it if a player ever got the idea to... A given CK just saying "NO!!" is always an option.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:27 pm
by DMSamuel
Based on this conversation, in my setting/game world there are two kinds of liches:

1) Necromantic Lich: This is the traditional lich who uses necromantic magic to place their ever-living soul into a phylactery. They are rendered immortal unless and until their phylactery is destroyed. They have the horrible visage of an undead creature and their souls have been warped by the process so much so that they are now irreparably evil. Among the types of Liches, these are the most common and most well known.

2) Arcane lich: This is an untraditional lich who has achieved immortality through creative use of powerful polymorph spells. The phylactery of this type of lich is the spellbook/parchment that houses the formula for producing the immortality. The process of producing an arcane lich requires at least one (if not several) assistant mages of sufficient level to cast polymorph other. These assistants are consumed in the process. This Lich class does not have the body of a terrifying undead creature, instead they have retained an aura of youth (if not beauty). Rumor has it that the process requires the use of a prismatic sphere.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:28 pm
by DMSamuel
Treebore wrote: I'm basically just doing a "What If?" scenario. As the spell is written, how would you handle it if a player ever got the idea to...
I wouldn't say no - I would point to the lore I just wrote in my last post and tell the player that it is possible, but that it takes a bit more than a polymorph spell. If they want to research it and attempt it, that would be fine by me - but the results can have terrible consequences (whether or not they succeed) :)

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:04 pm
by Treebore
DMSamuel wrote:
Treebore wrote: I'm basically just doing a "What If?" scenario. As the spell is written, how would you handle it if a player ever got the idea to...
I wouldn't say no - I would point to the lore I just wrote in my last post and tell the player that it is possible, but that it takes a bit more than a polymorph spell. If they want to research it and attempt it, that would be fine by me - but the results can have terrible consequences (whether or not they succeed) :)
Do you have that lore written up in a presentable way? I'd like to see it. It sounds like interesting lore that can add a lot of story to such an attempt.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:19 pm
by DMSamuel
Treebore wrote:
DMSamuel wrote:
Treebore wrote: I'm basically just doing a "What If?" scenario. As the spell is written, how would you handle it if a player ever got the idea to...
I wouldn't say no - I would point to the lore I just wrote in my last post and tell the player that it is possible, but that it takes a bit more than a polymorph spell. If they want to research it and attempt it, that would be fine by me - but the results can have terrible consequences (whether or not they succeed) :)
Do you have that lore written up in a presentable way? I'd like to see it. It sounds like interesting lore that can add a lot of story to such an attempt.

Just this lore here:
Based on this conversation, in my setting/game world there are two kinds of liches:

1) Necromantic Lich: This is the traditional lich who uses necromantic magic to place their ever-living soul into a phylactery. They are rendered immortal unless and until their phylactery is destroyed. They have the horrible visage of an undead creature and their souls have been warped by the process so much so that they are now irreparably evil. Among the types of Liches, these are the most common and most well known.

2) Arcane lich: This is an untraditional lich who has achieved immortality through creative use of powerful polymorph spells. The phylactery of this type of lich is the spellbook/parchment that houses the formula for producing the immortality. The process of producing an arcane lich requires at least one (if not several) assistant mages of sufficient level to cast polymorph other. These assistants are consumed in the process. This Lich class does not have the body of a terrifying undead creature, instead they have retained an aura of youth (if not beauty). Rumor has it that the process requires the use of a prismatic sphere.


It needs some polish and some stats, and bit of backstory for major liches in history - but that stuff can be worked up when I get time. I do have some idea what the ritual would be to produce an immortal who is not undead, which primarily uses polymorph + prismatic sphere.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:48 am
by Arduin
Treebore wrote:eternal youth?


Discuss.
Spells are generally limited to the description. If age isn't a changeable parameter per the spell. Then, it isn't.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:16 am
by Treebore
Arduin wrote:
Treebore wrote:eternal youth?


Discuss.
She spells are generally limited to the description. If age isn't a changeable parameter per the spell. Then, it isn't.
So you would rule that it does work as a spell of "Eternal Youth", since the spell description does say, "the caster "retains control over both minor and significant physical qualities.", and "age" is usually considered a pretty major physical quality?

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:29 pm
by Arduin
Treebore wrote:
So you would rule that it does work as a spell of "Eternal Youth", since the spell description does say, "the caster "retains control over both minor and significant physical qualities.", and "age" is usually considered a pretty major physical quality?
Of course I would. Doing otherwise makes it more powerful than the 9th level wish spell. If you review the materials of the game* you will see why Wish spell is a good yardstick for this type of determination. Also, the spell in question (polymorph) has always had that limitation.

So, the better question is: "So you would inflate the power of that spell well beyond what it has ever been in the history of the game?" ;)

If you want eternal youth. There might be a way. Albeit convoluted. Off the PC, reincarnate, Wish to restore race & all memories...


* D&D

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:40 pm
by Traveller
I would think this is one of those things that is left to the CK's discretion, given the vagueness of the statement "...retains control over both minor and significant physical qualities."

I envision polymorph to work on a cellular level, moving cells into appropriate locations to create the new shape. To allow it to remove aging from a character would require it to work on a molecular level like Star Trek's transporter, breaking down matter into its component molecules and recombining them into the appropriate form. Now, I wouldn't allow it in my games because it creates a loophole to bypass aging effects I've added to spells. But it really doesn't matter in my case whether I allow it or not, because I require the caster to make a system shock roll just for using polymorph spells.

If you DO choose to allow the spell to de-age the character, there should be a hazard added to the spell to discourage abuse. The obvious example is the system shock roll, but you could so something else like rolling a die to determine the amount of age removed from the character, with results of a specific number meaning the character is either reverted to an infant or aged to dust.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:06 pm
by Treebore
Yeah, that is kind of my point, the spell is already doing something pretty "powerful", rewriting your DNA to make the target into a completely new species of the casters choosing, so changing the biological age would be part of it. I've already had the spell used to turn targets into baby foals, turtles, kittens, etc... so the idea of changing their age has already been going on for decades in my games, starting with AD&D. Just for the first time ever, for me, the idea of using the spell to remain young was finally brought up for the PC's.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:21 pm
by alcyone
I don't see any reason why Polymorph can't make you younger. If the Polymorph is removed though, you will feel every single year in an instant. That's a popular fantasy and science fiction trope and reason enough for it to work. I could probably find a dozen examples but one off the top of my head is Willow.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:56 am
by serleran
I do not normally care for what the spell explicitly states as I prefer to rule on it as needed. However, for sake of this thread, I opened the 6th printing PHB. It is quite clear that Poly Other is supposed to have the same limitations as Poly Self, as they are the same spell in all other regards except as it notes their differences. To that end, to determine what a minor and significant quality is, one needs to review the Poly Self spell which is very obvious about, defining them.

Minor traits are things such as eye or hair color.

Significant qualities are size and/or gender.

Granted these are among a few others, but age is not noted nor is it to be, necessarily, assumed that the list is complete.

So, the question becomes "is age as significant as gender?"

I would have to answer that with an unadulterated "hell no."

Others are, of course, able to do as they want... but the spell itself would tend to disagree with that interpretation.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:20 am
by Treebore
Judging by responses here, age is far more significant than gender or species. Apparently too significant to be affected by the spell.

Re: So why CAN'T the Polymorph spell be used to maintain...

Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:37 pm
by serleran
Treebore wrote:Judging by responses here, age is far more significant than gender or species. Apparently too significant to be affected by the spell.
In the case of whether age is more significant than species, one could always just elect to polymorph into a being that is ageless (perhaps a doppelganger, for example?). Immortality is still possible through application of the spell.