More specifically I'm trying to understand if a Barbarian who has been polymorphed, either willingly or not would be able to rage. However this also applies to things such as Uncanny Dodge, or Evasion, anything a player might want to continue to use while no longer themselves.

Many questions specify you're able to rage while Wild Shaped, as Wild Shape specifies

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so.

However, polymorph specifies the following,

The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the chosen beast. It retains it's alignment and personality.


The creature is limited in the actions it can perform by the nature of its new form.

Unlike Wild Shape, nowhere does polymorph specify that you retain benefits from your class or race. Does this imply that class abilities do not carry over to polymorphed individuals?


2 Answers 2


You don't keep your features

You've cited all the relevant sections within your question. Polymorph, if used beneficially, is generally inferior to Wildshape.

This means you are unable to cast spells, sneak attack, use uncanny dodge, rage, etc. Polymorph used beneficially, is primarily a good way to up your damage output (t-rex does 4d12+7 per bite) and gives you an additional pool of hit points to work with.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I've replaced the “No” with a statement summarising your position. The "no" was unclear: no you can't use class features, or no it doesn't imply class abilities don't carry over? Please check you're OK with that statement, if you'd rather word it differently update it as you'd like. But I suggest sticking with more than just a yes or no. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 17, 2018 at 13:15

Polymorph is "Creature Replacement," not "Creature Enhancement".

Polymorph is a strategic "Stall" or "Utility" spell, rather than the combat buff that is Wild Shape.

Essentially, the target becomes an actual copy of the creature's stat block and loses the benefits of its class levels (including hit points beyond 1st level). This means you do not get to have a bear / barbarian with rage. Nor do you get to turn a sorcerer into a parrot to cast verbal-only spells from mid air. Mechanically, polymorph is more like a "Card Swap" where the original character is put into suspended animation, and is replaced by a creature card that still tries to act like Sir Lancelot, despite being an adorable chicken.

Once the copy is destroyed via HP damage, it reverts into its original form with a chance of bleed-over damage affecting it's original HP total. One strategy is to polymorph a big bad evil dude into something with horrible saving throws and then throw save-or-die spells at it for the next hour until it dies outright, to prevent it from reverting to its original form at full hit points and regaining all of its previous abilities.

Game play wise, when polymorphed, our DM asks for our character sheet and hands us an index card of the stat block and abilities written in the DMG for the assigned creature.


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