I posted another question that's similar to this, but not the same, here.

When a creature without a walking speed (land speed), like a fish or similar is under the effect of beastshape x, does it get a walking speed? It is not something listed as an ability gained under the spell.

This question is about the spell itself or an ability that works like the spell (so the polymorph rules apply), while the other is about an ability specifically granting you what is stated in the spell, but not the spell itself.

One example where this is relevant is the cassisian angel (it only has a fly speed) with its change shape ability to take the form of a dog which works like beast shape II.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Change shape works like polymorph which again states that it works like beast shape II when the new form is an animal. \$\endgroup\$
    – Umbranus
    Jun 30, 2017 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


Polymorph spells change your base speed.

The excerpt below is taken from the magic rules, specifically the Polymorph subschool of the transmutation school.

In addition, each polymorph spell can grant you a number of other benefits, including movement types, resistances, and senses. If the form you choose grants these benefits, or a greater ability of the same type, you gain the listed benefit. If the form grants a lesser ability of the same type, you gain the lesser ability instead. Your base speed changes to match that of the form you assume.

And several paragraphs later...

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form.

In other words, a polymorph spell may list several movement speeds that can be accessed when you change forms. But the base land speed is inherited by default. So when you polymorph, you lose your regular movement speeds, and gain 1. the land speed of the new form, and 2. other movement speeds of the new form, depending on what is allowed by the polymorph spell.

The Beast Shape spells are transmutation polymorph spells. Therefore these rules apply.

In your example: the Cassian Angel starts with a 90-foot fly speed and no base land speed. Then when it polymorphs into a dog using Beast Shape II. As part of the transformation, the angel loses its fly speed, and gains the dog's (40-foot) land speed.


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