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A wizard is fighting with his bladesong active and decides to cast polymorph upon himself. Will bladesong still be active in the new form (let’s take a giant ape for example)?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yea it is a class feature: the giant ape can’t use it as a bonus action. Correct. But i don’t understand whether or not it will carry over to the ape if it was previously active. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HelenoPaiva I think I agree that it's not a duplicate question since this this about class feature effect carryover more so than using a class ability after transforming. The answer may be the same but it isn't obvious that the questions are identical \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ ...but the logic they use to derive the "no" answer in that question does not apply here. Related, but not a dupe. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch yes. It asked it class abilities carried over, but there was no clear answer to it. Only that these abilities would not carry over. I find it difficult to understand since spells like blink or mirror image do carry over. Exhaustion points also carry over. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 17:05

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Yes, class features like Bladesong are cancelled under polymorph

The Polymorph spell description is very specific in what it's doing:

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

Since your stat block has been completely replaced by the new creature (except for alignment and personality), you no longer have access to your class features, including Bladesong. Anything that you were using is no longer happening because you simply don't have access to it.

Bladesong also requires the creature to be an elf in order to even access the feature. Once a beast, you are not only not a wizard, but not an elf.

A case where it would carry over

Do note that the druid's Wild Shape feature does allow for you to carry over and is the specific beats general case:

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.

A similar case considered by Jeremy Crawford

A similar question regarding Rage and Polymorph was answered by rules designer Jeremy Crawford who supports this as well:

Polymorph replaces your game statistics, including class features, with those of the beast. If you're a barbarian, you lose Rage.

Both of these are class features, both involve the creature being polymorphed. Both cases should be the same in terms of final effect, which is loss of class feature.

Crawford contradicts himself

As can be seen in this tweet, Crawford has a very different ruling about Arcane Ward and Polymorph:

If you're protected by Arcane Ward, changing your form doesn't end the ward, unless the transformation effect says otherwise

This is a problem with relying on Crawford and Twitter in that there may be conflicting answers and we're once again left to figure it out ourselves and decide which direction makes sense.

Making sense

Looking at the words of the spell polymorph and the restrictions around Bladesinging, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense for it to continue while a beast.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If a barbarian loses rage, then it seems reasonable that wizard loses bladesong. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jeremy Crawford has stated that Wizard Arcane Tradition effects aren't the same as Rage, and persist through polymorph (Ruling about Arcane Ward, a class feature from the Abjuration Arcane Tradition). \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 18:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GreySage that ruling expressly says that Arcane Ward is an external effect independent of your form. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical Blade Song has at least as much in common with Arcane Ward as it does with Rage, and there doesn't appear to be ruling specific to it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 20:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @greysage I added that tweet and some commentary \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 21:00
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There is no reason for Bladesong to end.

Bladesong is an effect with a duration, and special termination rules. It is canceled when the user wields a weapon in two hands or puts on medium or heavy armor. Polymorph is an effect with certain disadvantages, including starkly limiting (and altering) the available actions of the target. Polymorph does not cause you to wear heavy armor or wield a weapon in two hands, however, and bladesong by RAW does not require further action (and also does not require you to use a weapon at all). There's nothing causing the effect to end, so by default it continues (as silly as that is).

Given the fluff, however, it would be entirely reasonable for a DM to conclude that it ought to terminate (how do you use bladesong with no blade?) and houserule it. If I were DMing a game and the issue came up, I'm not sure which way I would rule.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would be careful declaring things to be fluff in 5e, there is no delineation between the two. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like your review of the RAW on what cancels bladesong when you're a bladesinger, but how do you integrate the fact that you're no longer a bladesinger after polymorph? Or are you saying that it just doesn't matter? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bladesong is an effect, just like a buff (or debuff) from a spell. You wouldn't be able to start Bladesong while polymorphed, but once it is active it is on you until something makes it fall off. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch "or you stop being a bladesinger" wasn't on the list of things that cancel the effect, so..." \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 18:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical Yes, exactly like Bladesong. They are even both level 2 features, and both talk about using magic to create an effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 19:01

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