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I read the spell alter self, and I found it extremely interesting, but at the same time I'm in doubt about how it works and how to use it properly.

It says that I assume the form of a creature of the same type as me. Does that mean as a human I can't turn myself into an elf (or any other race)?

Can it turn me into a bear or something?

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Type and race are different concepts

In D&D, most playable races are subtypes under the type Humanoid. This is the case for elves or humans, so it can turn you into a different race.

A bear, on the other hand, is an Animal. Essentially, you need to check the type of the creature, which is presented in its block for monsters. More details on Types and Subtypes can be found in the SRD.

Other than that, Alter Self has extra limitations on which creatures you can turn into.

The new form must be within one size category of your normal size [...] You cannot take the form of any creature with a template, even if that template doesn’t change the creature type or subtype.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As an Outsider, could I choose any from the outsider creatures list up to 5HD and become then? \$\endgroup\$ – Lucas Liz Jul 31 '18 at 16:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LucasLiz Yeap, as long as it follows the other restrictions as well. (No template and within one size category) \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 31 '18 at 21:54
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As a human, you can turn into any other Humanoid. Bears are type Animals.

Yes, bears can walk on two feet and use their claws, but their type is specified as Animal. Elves on the other hand are humanoid so you can turn yourself into an elf.

So just bear in mind if your race is a humanoid (in the case of a human) then check if what you want to turn into is also a humanoid.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Giant is actually a type. It's humanoid-shaped, not type humanoid. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jul 30 '18 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow, you're right. Good catch! \$\endgroup\$ – John Carroll Jul 31 '18 at 4:39

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