A good druid takes the Planar Wild Shape feat and adds the celestial template to the creature.

Reading the rebuild rules:

  • gains darkvision 60 ft.
  • gains DR and energy resistance as noted on the table

The table refers to HD. Should I consider the HD of the druid or the creature he wild shaped in?

  • SR gains SR equal to new CR +5
  • smite evil 1/day as a swift action (adds Cha bonus to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD against evil foes; smite persists until the target is dead or the celestial Creature rests)

Should I take the charisma bonus (and HD) of the creature or the druid?

EDIT: In other words

  1. The druid polymorphs and then applies the template (in this case the template is applied to the druid) or
  2. The druid polymorphs in a 'celestial animal' (in this case the template is applied on the creature).

1 Answer 1


In all cases the answer is of the druid, because those attributes (Cha, HD) are not altered by wild shape. I think you may be missing the profoundly different way polymorphs work in Pathfinder.

The druid's wild shape ability works like the beast shape spell. And the beast shape spell is a polymorph effect. Read polymorph carefully.

While these spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +20 bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of the abilities and powers of the creature.

You do not get the creature's HD or Charisma at all. You get physical attribute bonuses and natural armor based on size, get the creature's movement type and natural attacks (based on your BAB and STR), and specifically listed abilities. This is a significant departure from other editions. You barely need the original creature's stats at all to wild shape - you need its size, number and type of attacks, movement type, and some special abilites (trip, rake, blindsight, etc.) and that is it.

I don't know that "ordering" is the right way of thinking about it - when you turn into the animal, your HD is your HD, not the animal's HD. Whether you think about it as "order" or think about it as "the animal's HD just changed to mine," in either case you'd use your druid's attributes on the lookup table and calculations.

You get the SR and Smite Evil because you change to the animal form and then "apply the template to your animal form" as the feat states.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, the open point was: (1) if the druid polymorphs and then applies the template your answer fits. The other option is: (2) the druid polymorphs in a 'celestial beast' (you apply the template first and then polymorph). From your answer I would tend to assume that (1) is the correct interpretation? \$\endgroup\$
    – Matteo
    Oct 12, 2011 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, I think I understand where you're coming from now. Edited answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Oct 13, 2011 at 3:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Based upon the above explanation, would the said druid also pick up the SR and the Smite ability of the celestial form? \$\endgroup\$
    – user9128
    Aug 19, 2013 at 14:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ This isn't really new in Pathfinder, despite Pathfinder’s considerable changes to polymorph effects. Polymorph effects never gave you the new form’s Charisma. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 19, 2013 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BarrySmith Yes, the Druid would get the SR and Smite Evil abilities. Otherwise, what would be the point of the feat? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Aug 19, 2013 at 15:42

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