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I'm a bit unclear what happens to equipment when a shapeshift is used (eg Shapeshift, Wild Form, Dragon Form, etc etc) for some cases this melds equipment into a creature - still with magical effects, but no armour modifier, if I'm correct, but...

...a couple of questions to clarify:

  • What happens to armour and equipment if a humanoid character shapeshifts into a monster?
  • What happens if a monster character (eg a dragon) shapeshifts to a humanoid character, puts on armour and equipment then cancels the shapeshift?
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

D&D 3.5

"Any equipment worn when shifting is absorbed into your new body, granting only magical effects, not physical ones. Any weapons held are dropped, unless they can be held normally by your new form." source:


"Unless the new form is humanoid, all gear merges into the form. Constant bonuses (except AC) remain. Activation items can't be activated. Material components are not accessible while merged into the form." source:

That should cover first question.

Second question is more open to interpretation, though I would rule that all equipment adonned after shapeshifting is dropped. Otherwise you end up with abusable rules with non humanoids being able to get permanent bonuses in their normal form. Eg. Alter Self to human, put on +x magical armour, revert to normal form and have the benefits of natural non-humanoid form and magical bonuses.

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So, you'd rule that a dragon shapeshifted into an orc, dressed in adamantine armour then reverted back to normal form wouldn't have to worry about being crushed to death? You disappoint me. – GMJoe Jun 21 '12 at 7:08
This would depend on the type and how the armour in question was made. Plate mail was usually riveted onto leather and fastened with leather straps. As such it wouldn't be a question of breaking the adamantine layered over the leather, but breaking the leather and leather straps themselves. Now, leather can be quite tough so you might want to rule for each specific situation any damage or temporary penalties from the ordeal. For maile you might have a case depending on if it was riveted with iron (likely) or adamantine (hard/expensive). Just my view, of course. Thanks for bringing the issue up – Ruslepus Jun 21 '12 at 11:29
This seems the most sensible option to me; I was wondering if there'd been any rulings or suchlike anywhere about this, but looks like GM sensible-ness must prevail! – Rob Jun 22 '12 at 7:41
I'm not sure about the 3.5 bit. AFAIK, you don't get bonuses from items at all while polymorphed and shpeshift should be no exception. That looks like a class feature of the shapeshifter class to me. – Zachiel Mar 11 '13 at 14:36

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