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A group of friends and I are playing a one-shot in a couple of weeks and we plan on playing 3rd-level adventurers. I want to play a character who's main thing is to turn into a bat.

The only thing I can think of would be turning my character into a vampire, but that might upset party balance.

Polymorph is a 4th-level spell, and druids' Wild Shape feature doesn't let them transform into creatures with a flying speed until 8th level.

I just want the ability to transform into a bat and nothing else; no other creatures necessary. Is there any ability that can do that at 3rd level that won't throw party balance out the metaphorical window?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NoOneIsHere See this FAQ for why your comments were removed. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 19 '18 at 16:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie That is a great solution to that comment answers discussion on meta a while ago. It reads much nicer imo. (For what it's worth) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jun 19 '18 at 17:22
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Without homebrew material or a very accommodating DM, you cannot. Let's look at the options...

Polymorph

Not available until 7th level. Only RAW work-around is to get your hands on a Wand of Polymorph.

Wild Shape

As you mentioned, you cannot turn into something with a Flying speed until level 8. This is out.

Become a creature like a Vampire

This requires explicit permission from your DM and WILL greatly upset the party balance. Also, there is a strong precedent in the rulebooks for a DM to take control of any PC that becomes an evil creature. (ex: MM207, 295; CoS191, 196)

Get a Cloak of the Bat

Rare magic item that lets you turn into a bat once per day...and also fly while in dim light or darkness.

Homebrew

If you are dead-set on this idea...you can try talking to your DM about homebrewing up an item that can let you do this. Perhaps a broach that lets you turn into a bat x-times per day or something. This is fully within your DM's control, though...so I can't give you a RAW response.

Alternative: Bat Familiar?

If you want to 'be' a bat without actually turning into one...perhaps you could roll a Wizard, snag Find Familiar, and summon yourself a bat? You can hop into the head of your familiar and drive them around on remote control--so you could 'become' a bat in the sense of inhabiting the body of one, while your real body sat back and relaxed. Warning: limited range.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What precedent are you referencing where the DM takes control of evil creatures? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jun 19 '18 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok. Thank. Was just wondering. I don't have CoS and haven't read the sidebars in the MM \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jun 19 '18 at 19:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ For find familiar, a variant human can take a feat at first level, and either Magic Initiate or Ritual Caster could get you that spell (plus some other stuff). \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Jun 20 '18 at 11:30
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RAW options: Wand of Polymorph and Cloak of the Bat

While you don't have access to 4th level spells yet, your DM may be okay with using/adapting the Wand of Polymorph. Note that this is a Very Rare item.

Alternatively, the Cloak of the Bat presents a 1/day option to do exactly what you want (and retain your INT/WIS/CHA scores) and is only a Rare item.

Racial Homebrewing

Aasimar Radiant Soul 3rd level

Part of the Radiant Soul Race 3rd level abilities includes granting 30' fly speed for 1 minute. It's possible to discuss 'trading' one of your racial bonuses for this and homebrew a racial ability for bat transformation for 1 minute/day.

Flight at 3rd level

One thing to consider is that there are likely good reasons why the base rules limit flight at early levels. You and your DM may work out a solution, but be open to rolling it back if the DM feels like it's creating more problems than it solves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Adding on to your homebrewing comment, the Aarakocra from Elemental Evil have a level 1 flight speed of 50 ft. Only limitation is they can't use it with medium or heavy armor. So there is a precedent for flight before level 3, though still not polymorphing (as far as I'm aware). \$\endgroup\$ – zero Jun 19 '18 at 22:29
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The answer tends to no

(without magic items)

In order to find if this is balanced, let's check some related stats on flying. fly is a 3rd level spell (PC level 5), polymorph is 4th, wild shape with a bat is 8th level. However, all of these are limited in duration. If you want unlimited flight, the closest I can find is Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer's flight at 15th level. So I hate to say it, but I don't think unlimited flying at 3rd (or flying at all) is balanced.

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