If I were to give an intelligent item the ability to cast beast shape, what would it's ability scores become if she transforms into a medium animal?

Medium animal: If the form you take is that of a Medium animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Strength and a +2 natural armor bonus.

The problem is that an intelligent item usually does not posses Constitution, Strength or Dexterity scores.

Edit: I want to give my intelligent item beast shape as a spell. This can be done as a intelligent item power as stated here.

Item can cast a 3rd-level spell 1/day

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can grant an intelligent item spells as a power. I'll add it to the question. Sorry, I thought it was obvious :P \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    May 10, 2018 at 23:42

2 Answers 2


Their physical abilities are exactly the same: None

The fact that you look like an animal doesn' t mean you are actually an animal now. Polymorph spells dont change your type or grant abilities not listed under the spell or the general rules for polymorph.

Beast Shape says:

When you cast this spell, you can assume the form of any Small or Medium creature of the animal type. If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: climb 30 feet, fly 30 feet (average maneuverability), swim 30 feet, darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, and scent.

Small animal: If the form you take is that of a Small animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Dexterity and a +1 natural armor bonus.

Medium animal: If the form you take is that of a Medium animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Strength and a +2 natural armor bonus.

As you can see, it doesn't grant you a strength, dexterity or constitution scores, so if you are a creature without those scores (and that's different from having 0 on those scores), you cannot even increase them.

A character with a Strength score of 0 is too weak to move in any way and is unconscious.

Some creatures (such as incorporeal creatures) do not possess a Strength score and have no modifier at all to Strength-based skills or checks.

A zombie that is affected by Bear's Endurance won't gain +4 constitution, nor they will become an intelligent undead if you cast Eagle's Splendor (+4 intelligence), because they don't have that ability score at all.

For an ability score to be increased, it first requires to have an score (and even 0 is enough here). For instance, the Impart Mind spell does exactly that, it grants mental scores to a target that normally doesn't have those scores: objects.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It wouldn't require homebrewing on the GM's part, you can 'teach' a intelligent item to cast spells as an intelligent item power. I added that to the answer now. You make a fair point about how other ability scores buffs interact with other null-abilities though \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    May 11, 2018 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I missed that completely. There are other ways to get it too, so that part of my answer was wrong already. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    May 11, 2018 at 12:08

Beast Shape, as written, is clearly intended to be affecting a creature, and was not written to cater for objects becoming creatures. The spell Polymorph Any Object, however, was intrinsically written to allow objects and creatures to assume the form of another object or creature. Although there is no RAW basis for doing this, you could apply the following rules from the spell to this specific special case.

If the target of the spell does not have physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution), this spell grants a base score of 10 to each missing ability score. If the target of the spell does not have mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma), this spell grants a score of 5 to such scores.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking the same, because a null-ability and a score of 10 have the same ability modifier of +0 \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    May 11, 2018 at 2:56

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