8
\$\begingroup\$

A number of creatures have the Shapechanger trait with some variation of the phrasing:

Shapechanger. The [creature] can use its action to polymorph into [output] or back into its true form. Its statistics remain the same in each form. [...]

where [creature] and [output] in the above text are meant to be replaced with the specific creature and what it turns into.

While in its shapeshifted form, is it then that thing?

For example:

  • Is a shifted Werewolf a Wolf in its Wolf form?
  • Is a Mimic an object in its object form?
  • Is a Succubus/Incubus a humanoid in its humanoid form?
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand why it would matter for the mimic but when is the distinction relevant for the werewolf? \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Jan 10 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sdjz It matters if you have an effect that targets a particular thing (eg a Wolf, humanoid or object) \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Jan 10 at 15:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ultimately the examples are illustrative not restrictive. I don't have time to find every example of a shapechanger right now and these are the ones that came to mind. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Jan 10 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS The + symbols were me trying to find a substitue in markdown for angled brackets (which stack parses as html). I've changed them to square brackets, but the intention is that [creature] and [output] can be replaces by the original creature name and the thing it polymorphs into. What is quoted is the general form of the text of those abilities, not a specific form. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Jan 10 at 15:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you specifically asking about the Shapechanger trait, or any shapeshifting traits (e.g. dragons' Change Shape trait)? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 12 at 0:54
20
\$\begingroup\$

For the purposes of being affected by effects, it depends on the creature

Depending on the creature, the shapeshifting ability usually describes which statistics are kept and which are not. For more details on what counts as statistics you can see this question. The statistics are what determines what a creature counts as.

For example, the werewolf states that (emphasis mine):

The werewolf can use its action to polymorph into a wolf-humanoid hybrid or into a wolf, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its AC, are the same in each form.

So, in the case of the werewolf, since the stat block states that it is a Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger) (this is the creature type and tags, part of the statistics), and this is not changed when shapeshifting, you could not use something like dominate beast on a shapeshifted werewolf, a spell that targets beasts and affects normal wolves (which are beasts).

Contrast this with, for example, an Ancient Gold Dragon whose change shape ability states:

In a new form, the dragon retains its alignment, hit points, Hit Dice, ability to speak, proficiencies, Legendary Resistance, lair actions, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores, as well as this action. Its statistics and capabilities are otherwise replaced by those of the new form, except any class features or legendary actions of that form.

In this case, the Dragon's type does change to whatever it is transforming into (humanoid or beast in this case) so it does become a valid target for effects that target only those creature types

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
5
\$\begingroup\$

No, in every creature with the Shapechanger trait, its type stays the same.

A mimic is always a mimic; a werewolf is always a werewolf; a succubus is always a succubus. That is why they have abilities only usable in particular forms.

Consider the description in the stat block. For the succubus, the trait says:

Shapechanger. The fiend can use its action to polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid, or back into its true form. Without wings, the fiend loses its flying speed. Other than its size and speed, its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

The werewolf's Shapechanger trait reads:

Shapechanger. The werewolf can use its action to polymorph into a wolf-humanoid hybrid or into a wolf, or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics, other than its AC, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

The mimic's Shapechanger trait says:

Shapechanger. The mimic can use its action to polymorph into an object or back into its true, amorphous form. Its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Creature type is part of its statistics.

This is true for other lycanthropes, vampires, slaads, and doppelgangers. For every creature with the Shapechanger trait, the wording is the same: "Its statistics are the same in each form." Then, if there are any exceptions, they are listed. In each case, the creature type remains the same.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wasn't necessarily asking about those specific examples, but the more general form of the ability. I understand that each creature will have specific derogations, so the examples in the question were illustrative, not exhaustive. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Jan 10 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro It is true for ever creature with the shapechanger ability. Other abilities would be a different question. \$\endgroup\$ – John Jan 10 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you specifically answering regarding the Shapechanger trait, or are you taking other shapeshifting traits into consideration as well? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 12 at 0:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast just the shapeshifter trait which many, many different creatures have, since it is the only thing asked. Answering about ever possible way to transform would be a huge list, which is frowned upon. There are dozens of different ways to transform into a different form, including spells, class abilities, traits, and abilities, many with different answers. \$\endgroup\$ – John Jan 12 at 7:10
-3
\$\begingroup\$

I would say yes, a werewolf is a wolf in wolf-form and a mimic is the object. Not 100% sure though.

As far as i know they get affected after shaping like the object or form they shape into for example smashing in the case of the mimic.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome and thank you for the answer. Do you have any rules sources that would back this up? Generally answers need to be backed up with either rules, or official rulings (via the Sage Advice publication from Wizards of the Coast) for a question like this. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Jan 10 at 15:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. As illustro mentioned, you should edit your answer to support it by citing the relevant rules or other evidence. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 12 at 0:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.