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A dragon can cast spells with a somatic elements. If the dragon is polymorphed with baleful polymorph into a mouse and passes the second saving throw retaining the ability to cast spells:

  • will he still be able to cast spells with the somatic component?

  • will he still be able to cast spells with the verbal component?

A mouse cannot speak and is not really similar to a dragon so I would tend to assume that both answers are a no but then I would not see why the ability to cast spells is retained since it would be rarely the case that someone balefully polymorphs a creature in a similar creature able to speak ...

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Probably no, but as a GM i'd say yes (for lulz). –  Macona Aug 24 '12 at 7:45
It will always, of course, be the DM's call. We used to have a Warmage that was polymorphed into a hummingbird and the DM allowed him to retain his spellcasting abilities; he found the change to be... favorable. –  Yandros Aug 24 '12 at 13:39
@Cthoc: OK, thus: In settings, where (some types of) dragons have the shapechanger subtype, they "can revert to its natural form as a standard action" Baleful Polymorph. This does not apply to Pathfinder, because just "several of the Metallic Dragons get Change shape as a supernatural ability and special quality" (Cthos) only, not as subtype. (Thanks to Cthos for pointing this out!) –  Stephen Aug 25 '12 at 18:02
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

No. Probably.

Specifically, a dragon Baleful Polymorph'd into a mouse can no longer speak, and probably can't make precise hand motions. The definition of Verbal components says:

To provide a verbal component, you must be able to speak in a strong voice.

Likewise with Somatic:

A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand.

You could absolutely make the argument that a mouse can still make precise hand motions, but I feel like that comes down to exactly how precise the GM wants it to be; it could either mean precise finger motions as well, or just moving your hand around.

Basically, as long as the spell doesn't have verbal or somatic components (like a Silent Still spell), the dragon can cast it. Otherwise, he cannot.

The specifics on spell components are here.

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That does not necessarily rule out spells that don't need any of those components like, say, Glorious Master of the Elements. It can also use a Silent spell with no somatic component, a Still spell with no verbal component... you get the idea. It would also be able to use its spell-like abilities ("A spell-like ability has no verbal, somatic, or material component, nor does it require a focus or have an XP cost."). –  Yandros Aug 24 '12 at 13:33
Dragons don't have hands to begin with -- that should at least be acknowledged in the answer! –  starwed Aug 25 '12 at 11:51
@starwed Oddly enough, in second edition AD&D, dragons explicitly did cast spells without somatic components, but that bit of info didn't get carried into Third and later editions, so GMs were forced to invent their own explanations. –  GMJoe Jul 17 '13 at 4:36
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