I'm a new player trying to learn more about how the spells really work outside of any specific game. Being a new player, I always like to argue about and find out how my and other players' actions actually work.

I was in a session, and occasionally a player cast the true polymorph spell on a teammate to turn them into a Planetar. Our DM said the spell only changes the character's body, so he would have no weapon (longsword), not even his traits: Angelic Weapons, Divine Awareness, Innate Spellcasting and his Healing Touch.

How is the true polymorph spell actually supposed to work?

  • Can I use all of the new form's skills and actions, including legendary actions? Can I use everything listed on the monster sheet?
  • If I transform myself permanently, can I level up and progress?

From what I understood about the spell, you can become a creature and play with everything and only what is described in the creature's statblock.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How would you transform permanently? True polymorph has a duration of 1 hour. \$\endgroup\$ – captncraig Aug 2 '20 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? Does the True Polymorph spell form a creature with equipment? \$\endgroup\$ – captncraig Aug 2 '20 at 2:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @captncraig "If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the transformation lasts until it is dispelled." \$\endgroup\$ – Pepijn Aug 2 '20 at 3:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. In general, you should ask one question (or set of closely related questions) per post. Your post seems to ask a number of different questions: whether you (can) use all of the new form's actions, including legendary actions; whether you can "use everything listed on the monster sheet" (which might be a bit too broad itself); and whether you can level up/advance in the new form if the caster concentrates for the full duration. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 2 '20 at 4:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...You should ask each of those questions as a separate question (except the potentially overly broad "Can I use everything listed on the monster sheet?", which may need to be split into multiple questions itself). As mentioned in an earlier comment, the equipment aspect is already covered by an existing question, as is the legendary actions question: True Polymorph: can a player use legendary actions of its new form? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 2 '20 at 4:29

The Rules Don't Say

Here's what the spell says:

The target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the new form. It retains its alignment and personality.

What counts as a "game statistic"? That term is never defined, so it's up to the DM to define it.

(The 5e rules have a lot of these ambiguities, so the DM will have to get used to making these rulings as they come up.)

There's no consistent ruling about whether "game statistics" include equipment (see this question). There's also not a consistent ruling about whether "game statistics" include immunities like "immune to charmed" or abilities like "angelic weapons" or actions like "healing touch".

All of this is up to the DM and can vary from table to table.

You've also asked: "if I transform myself permanently, can I level up and progress?"

If you permanently transform into a planetar, the planetar does not have the ability to level up. The character that you used to be might still be gaining experience points, or they might not. (This, too, is up to your DM.) But the planetar won't ever get better.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The term “game’s statistic” is defined in the Monster Manual \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Aug 2 '20 at 21:16

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