Polymorph (Player's Handbook v.3.5, p. 263) is based on Alter Self (Player's Handbook v.3.5, p. 197) that reads, in part:

Alter Self


You acquire the physical qualities of the new form while retaining your own mind. Physical qualities include natural size, mundane movement capabilities (such as burrowing, climbing, walking, swimming, and flight with wings, to a maximum speed of 120 feet for flying or 60 feet for nonflying movement), natural armor bonus, natural weapons (such as claws, bite, and so on), racial skill bonuses, racial bonus feats, and any gross physical qualities (presence or absence of wings, number of extremities, and so forth). A body with extra limbs does not allow you to make more attacks (or more advantageous two-weapon attacks) than normal.


The spell referres to racial skill bonuses, where can I find them and does they replace my class-skills as long as I am polymorphed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate? rpg.stackexchange.com/q/156253/53359 \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    May 18, 2020 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have just given a quick read to it, but I haven’t find the answer \$\endgroup\$
    – Verdict00
    May 18, 2020 at 17:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The weird implications of this very good question can be seen in this question. \$\endgroup\$ May 18, 2020 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


No, one does not gain or lose the class skills of a monster as part of what is granted by polymorph, only racial skill bonuses. Racial skill bonuses are any skill bonuses noted in the creature's description. For example, a nymph's description states:

A nymph has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. She can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. She can use the run action while swimming, provided she swims in a straight line.

For the player races, your racial skill bonuses are clearly labeled as "racial bonus to X", such as a Dwarf's "+2 racial bonus on Appraise checks that are related to stone or metal items."

Alter Self/Polymorph are explicit in what they grant, and "class skills" is not part of that list.

The Alter Self/Polymorph-line of spells, as a general rule, do not alter any class features other than to sometimes take a feature away (e.g. spellcasting) if it is not possible due to the new anatomy.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you would be better off using either Dwarf's racial bonus to Craft or Appraise in your example, since those are racial bonuses to skills. What you cited is a racial bonus to a saving throw, which would not be removed unless the DM ruled it fell under "any gross physical qualities". \$\endgroup\$
    – Keledrath
    May 20, 2020 at 14:15

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